Vajrapani On View
This rare early bronze image of Vajrapani is now on view in gallery 237. Vajrapani means “he who holds (pani) the thunderbolt (vajra)” in Sanskrit.
Adopted by Buddhists as a protector, this sculpture visually conveys his power to overcome fear and obstacles to enlightenment.
The attributes of the thunderbolt and the club were derived from images of Zeus and Hercules that travelers from the Mediterranean world brought to the region as early as the 320s BC. He sits on a pedestal in the form of a rocky mountain populated with wild lions, and he has tamed poisonous snakes to use as ornaments.
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