Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Antique wooden Garuda Sculpture, China. Qing Dynasty

18 – 19th century sculpture of a bird-headed Buddhist god: Wooden Garuda with a layer of lacquer, gilded.

7,5 x 7 x 2,8 inches. 548 gram. Fine condition. ( Only minor surface aging which is quite usual for such an old piece – the gold partly rubbed off. No parts missing, no splits ).

In Buddhism, the Garuda is said to be a huge bird, his wings spanning several miles! He is said to have amazing power, intelligence, strength and wisdom and can change to human form at will. There are some stories which even talk of Garuda kings having romantic dalliances with human women. The Buddha, in the Mahasamyatta Sutra, is shown as making peace, albeit temporarily, between the Nagas (serpents) and the Garudas.

The concept of Garuda is also seen in Indonesian, Thai, Japanese and Mongolian culture. While the Garuda is the national symbol of both Thailand and Indonesia, it is the symbol of Ulan Bator, the capital city of Mongolia.

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