Luxury Design, Past & Present
Tibet, c. 18th century
h: 9 inches, 23 cm
Provenance: Private New England Collection
In Sanskrit Haya literally translates to horse, while Griva translates to neck. This delicately cast piece is seen striding in alidhasana on prostrate bodies over a lotus base with four arms outstretched, two embracing his consort while holding the curved knife and skull cap. Adorned with a garland of severed heads, various jewelry around his neck and the tiger skin stretched across his back, the three central faces with bared fangs and bulging eyes surmounted by skull tiaras, with two more sets of three heads stacking atop, all in wrathful expression, finally surmounted by two horse heads flanked with a flaming bun.
Hayagriva is a Buddhist deity with roots originating as a Yaksha attendant of Avalokitesvara. He is revered to have the special ability to cure skin related diseases such as leprosy, which is said to be caused by the Nagas (snake deities).