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Devotions to Nagadevata

Asian Art

This unusual painting shows a group of individuals—human, divine, and semi-divine—worshipping a snake deity, or naga (with multiple cobra heads), in a temple setting. Indians of various religious affiliations have worshipped snakes since ancient times: poisonous, but helpful because they eat rodents, serpents are thought to have close ties to the earth and the underworld and are therefore believed to deserve reverence. The multi-headed, white-skinned figure at the left is the Hindu god Shiva. The horse-headed musician at the right is a kinnara, or celestial entertainer. The snake-god’s two wives, with human bodies and snake tails, appear at the right.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
  • Place Made: Rajasthan, India
  • DATES ca. 1790
    DIMENSIONS sheet: 11 3/16 x 8 1/16 in. (28.4 x 20.5 cm) image: 8 1/8 x 5 1/4 in. (20.6 x 13.3 cm)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Anonymous gift
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