early 8th Century
Overall: 50.4 cm (19 13/16 in.)
Gift of Katharine Holden Thayer 1965.557
Surya wears a long tunic and boots suitable for riding horses across the grassland steppes of Central Asia. The sun god was of paramount power among the people of Central and Western Asia who followed religions such as Zoroastrianism, a pre-Islamic faith emphasizing a sacred duality between light and dark. When the image of the sun god began to be made in India from the 100s BC on, he is shown in the dress of the people who revered him the most. Surya is worshipped throughout the Indian subcontinent and Himalayan regions of Kashmir and Nepal alongside both Hindu and Buddhist deities.
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