Jul 1, 2015
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Naga Kanya, Indian goddess, half woman half serpent.

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Brass Sculpture
17.0″ × 12″ × 13.5″
10 kg

From its source:

This brass-statue represents a winged Naga-kanya, a maiden with a serpent’s lower half. Almost all ancient mythologies world-over comprise the concept of half man-half serpent and half maiden-half serpent, often interacting with the world of man. As regards the cult of man-serpent mixed forms, Indian mythology is far more elaborate though strangely while it talks with definiteness about different serpents and their lineage, about seven-eight of them being major having well defined line, role, personality, lands they ruled or influenced, and their related myths, it is almost conspicuously silent about Naga-kanyas except sometimes as wives of these Nagas or in some minor mythological contexts. Ananta or Shesh, Vasuki, Takshaka, Karkotaka, Padma, Mahapadma, Shankhapala, Kulika among others are the names of some of the multi-hooded serpents, each heading a line, and each capable of taking to any form. Ananta, Vasuki and Takshaka are said to have been five-hooded. Maybe, the artist has conceived this five-hooded Naga-kanya as the wife of one of them.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.

From Wikipedia:

Nāga (IAST: nāgá, Burmese pronunciation: [nəɡá]) is the Sanskrit and Pali word for a deity or class of entity or being, taking the form of a very great snake—specifically the king cobra, found in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. A female nāga is a nāgī or nāgiṇī.[1]

Elgood, Heather (2000). Hinduism and the Religious Arts. London: Cassell. p. 234. ISBN 0-304-70739-2.

See also the entry on Naga at Britannica.com.

 

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