Naga Nagini

This piece depicting the serpentine deities, Nagini and Naga, in the 'samabhanga' stance (equpoise), is sculpted in a single stele made of pink sandstone. Standing side by side, the couple is framed by the heavy coils of the serpent. The Naga is portrayed almost Buddha-like with curled hair and a tight knee-length dhoti while the Nagini a fine transparent dhoti and a scarf goes from her shoulders down to her feet. They both are adorned with jewellery.The cult of Naga worship is very ancient and still practiced today in Hindu ritual worship although no longer mainstream. In Hinduism, the 'naga' is associated with darkness. Lots of mainstream Hindu Gods are associated with Naga though, such as Shiva and Vishu. Buddhism has also absorbed Naga worship and Naga is associated with the worship of Buddha himself. In Singapore, several 'nagakkal, naga stones, can be seen under trees in major Hindu temples where devotees offer milk and special prayers.This sculpture probably would have occupied a prominent place in a temple complex.

Indigenous Name
Naga Nagini
Date/Period
Kushana-Gupta transition, 4th-5th century CE
Region
Mathura, India
Dimension
Object size: 141 cm
Accession No.
1998-00636
Material
Pink sandstone
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Category
Sculpture