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The Rubin Research


Rahula is a personification of eclipses in Indian cosmology and an important protector deity in the Nyingma (or Ancient) Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He is considered extremely terrifying, shown here with nine heads, four arms, and the lower body of a coiled snake adorned with eyes. It is believed that if a ritual performed incorrectly, Rahula could cause misfortunes and a stroke.

Rahula’s ninth head is a raven with the bodhisattva Vajrapani standing atop it and signifies an enlightened power over Rahula’s potentially harmful might.

This bronze sculpture counts among the best representations of Rahula, striking an elegant balance between the tower of heads, four-armed human torso, and coiled snake body.

Geographic Origin
Gilt copper alloy with turquoise and coral insets

H 12 3/8 x W 6 x D 10 in.

Rubin Museum of Art, Purchased from the Collection of Navin Kumar, New York
C2003.7.2, HAR65206