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Sculpture - Garuda abducting Queen Kakati

Garuda abducting Queen Kakati

  • Object:

    Sculpture

  • Place of origin:

    Gandhara (made)

  • Date:

    3rd century - 4th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Grey schist

  • Museum number:

    IS.5-1973

  • Gallery location:

    South-East Asia, Room 47a, case EXP

Garuda King abducting Queen Kakati, grey schist, Gandhara, 2nd-4th century

Physical description

A figure of a Garuda abducting Queen Kakati. The head of the Garuda is turned slightly to the left and wears a turban suggesting the royal status of the Garuda; this is emphasised by the earrings which he also wears. He clasps Queen Kakati to his chest with his talons and since her feet are shown clear of the ground, the group appears to be already in the air. Kakati wears a loose robe with a jewelled belt, necklace, earrings and anklets; her hair is held by a jewelled fillet.
This episode is described in one of the Buddha's previous-life stories, the Jatakas. The Queen of Varanasi is carried by the mythical bird, only to be returned unharmed after her king (the bodhisattva, in fact) performs an act of selfless kindness.

Place of Origin

Gandhara (made)

Date

3rd century - 4th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Grey schist

Dimensions

Height: 51.5 cm, Width: 26.7 cm, Depth: 14 cm

Historical context note

This relief depicts a scene from the Kakati Jataka, one of the legends relating episodes from the Buddha's previous lives. The queen of Benares is seen being carried off by a mythical bird creature (Garuda). She is returned after the king (the bodhisattva) performs an act of selfless kindness.

Descriptive line

Garuda King abducting Queen Kakati, grey schist, Gandhara, 2nd-4th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Cowell & Neil No.327 Vol III p.60
Guy, John. ‘Indian Temple Sculpture’, London : V&A Publications, 2007. p.24. pl.16.
ISBN 9781851775095

Labels and date

Garuda Abducting Queen Kakati

200–400
Kushan period

This relief illustrates a scene from the Kakati Jataka,
one of the legends relating episodes from the Buddha’s
previous lives.The mythical bird-king Garuda is carrying
off the queen of Benares. She was returned unharmed
after her husband the king – the future Buddha –
performed an act of selfless kindness. Garuda wears
a royal turban and earrings.

Schist
Gandhara/North-west Pakistan

Museum no. IS.5-1973 [06/06/2011]

Production Note

Gandhara, Pakistan

Subjects depicted

Buddhism

Categories

Sculpture; Buddhism

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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