Vajrapani Trampling Snakes

10th-11th century

Rubin Museum of Art

Rubin Museum of Art
New York, United States

This sculpture of Vajrapani is distinguished by the iconographic features characteristic of this wrathful deity: snakes and the bird-headed winged garuda at the top of the figure’s nimbus. The garuda, which is traditionally pitted against snakes in Indian iconography, is biting down on the heads of four snakes. The bodies of the snakes hang behind Vajrapani, and the tips of their tails emerge beneath his feet. Snakes bind themselves to Vajrapani’s body as necklaces, bracelets, and anklets; in his earrings; and around his red hair.


  • Title: Vajrapani Trampling Snakes
  • Date: 10th-11th century
  • Date Created: 10th-11th century
  • Physical Dimensions: H 10.5 x W 4.5 x D 2.125 in.
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Rubin Museum of Art
  • Medium: Copper alloy
  • Place of Creation: Eastern India or Western Tibet
  • Exhibition History: Rubin Museum of Art, "Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection" (02/06/13 - 01/13/14), Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, "Demonic Divine in Himalayan Art" (08/13/11 - 10/09/11), Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ, "Demonic Divine in Himalayan Art" (09/22/06 - 12/17/06), Rubin Museum of Art, "Demonic Divine in Himalayan Art" (11/15/04 - 03/13/06)

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