Gazette Drouot logo print
Lot n° 288


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A PAINTED WOOD ‘GARUDA’ DOOR, TIBET, 19TH CENTURY Finely painted with color pigments on cloth over joined wood planks. Depicting Garuda in mid-flight with hands raised as he wrestles a slithering naga attempting to wrap itself around his neck, the deity with a bird’s lower body and a mostly human upper body and head save for the requisite beak, framed by bands of quadrilobed cartouches enclosing scrolling foliage centered by stylized lotus flowerheads. Provenance: From a private collection in England. Condition: Extensive old wear and signs of use, natural age cracks, flaking and losses to pigment, scratches, nicks, stains, and tears. Minor touchups. Dimensions: Length 168 cm, Width 72 cm According to Hindu and Buddhist stories, the giant, birdlike Garuda spends eternity killing snakelike Nagas. The feud started when both Garuda's mother and the Nagas' mother married the same husband. The husband then gave each wife one wish. The Nagas' mother asked for a thousand children. Garuda's mother wished for just two children who were superior to all of the Nagas. Their rivalry continued until Garuda's mother lost a bet and became the servant and prisoner of the Nagas' mother. Garuda was able to free his mother by stealing the nectar of immortality from the gods. But he swore vengeance for his mother's treatment and has been fighting Nagas ever since. Literature comparison: Compare a related door of a protector deity's shrine (mgon khang), Tibet, c. 1800, exhibited in the Ethnological Museum, Berlin.