Overall: 22 cm (8 11/16 in.); Base: 12.8 cm (5 1/16 in.)
Location: not on view
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share

Did You Know?

A hole on the back once held a halo behind his head.


The name Vajrapani means “he who holds (pani) the thunderbolt (vajra)” in Sanskrit. Adopted by Buddhists as a protector not only in India and the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet, Vajrapani also was incorporated into art of China, Korea, and Japan. 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.

This rare, early bronze image of Vajrapani visually conveys his power to overcome fear and obstacles to enlightenment, and for this reason he is invoked by Buddhist practitioners. 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.



India, Kashmir

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.