This gilt bronze statue depicts a Garuda as part bird, and part human with flaming hair that bears the symbols of the sun and moon. The Garuda is a legendary bird creature from Hindu, Buddhist and Jain mythology. A Garuda is generally a protector with the power to swiftly go anywhere and is ever watchful against enemies. A Garuda is a part of state insignia in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.
This Garuda was acquired from Tibet where the main religion is Tibetan Buddhism which a form of the Buddhist doctrine named after the lands of Tibet but also found in the regions surrounding the Himalayas and much of Central Asia. In the Buddhist tradition, a Garuda is the golden-winged bird from Buddhist texts and can be found with either zoomorphic (animal form) or anthropomorphic (part bird, part human form) iconography.
- Why is anthropomorphic (part animal and part human) iconography so pervasive in many cultures?
- Is this Garuda figure a fusion of myths, imagination, metaphors and symbolism?
- Is the power of nature invoked through the use of anthropomorphic art?
- Is anthropomorphic art an expression of our awe of the power, grace and wisdom in animals?
- Does this Garuda image capture both our love and fear of nature?
- Seated Buddha from Gandhara
- Statue of Tara
- Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
- Avalokiteshvara – Guanyin
- Nandi – Figure of the Humped Bull of Śiva
- Budai Hesheng
- Luohan – Yixian Glazed Ceramic Sculpture
- Masterpieces of the British Museum
- Title: Garuda
- Date: 19th Century
- Findspot: Tibet
- Materials: Gold gilded bronze
- Culture: Tibetan Buddhism
- Dimensions: H: 69.3 cm; W: 60 cm; Depth: 24 cm; W: 9 kg
- Museum: The British Museum
“A child without education is like a bird without wings.”
– Tibetan Proverb
Photo Credit: 1) JOM