The Dorothy Methvin McClatchey Collection

Garuda Pendant

Garuda Pendant

Nepal
1994.34.114
20th Century

This large pendant is typical of those worn by Buddhists in Nepal and Tibet. The piece consists of a silver base covered with a pictorial mosaic comprised of turquoise, coral and lapis lazuli, materials of symbolic significance to many inhabitants of Central and East Asia. Since Buddhism developed out of Hinduism, many of the Hindu deities remain in the Buddhist cosmology as protectors. The central diety on this pendant is Garuda, the "Bird of Life" in Hindu mythology. He is flanked by two celestial beings. In mythological scenes Garuda is often depicted flying across the sky carrying the supreme god Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi. Garuda is traditionally presented as a human with an eagle's beak and wings. This figure is often seen with outstretched wings and a snake in his mouth.