, Garuda and nagini Enlarge 1 /1
Gandharan region, Afghanistan or Pakistan

Garuda and nagini 3rd century Creation Notes: Kushan period (2nd century BCE-3rd century CE)
Materials & Technique: sculptures, schist stone
Dimensions: 40.6 h x 23.4 w x 7.5 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1978
Accession No: NGA 78.1032
  • The supplied chain of ownership for this object is being reviewed and further research is underway. The provenance information listed has been substantiated by documentation. Details may be refined and updated as research progresses.
  • with art dealership Spink, London, 1978 or before
  • which sold it to the Australian National Gallery, Canberra, 1978 for GBP 2,500

Garuda, the mighty eagle of Indian mythology, is shown sinking his talons into the waist of a nagini, a female of the naga serpent clan. As further evidence of Garuda's traditional hostility towards naga, he is shown devouring a snake, the head of which sits on the great bird's left wing. Although the theme is purely Indian, classical Greek images representing the abduction of Ganymede by Zeus appear to have influenced this type of composition.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label