Skip to main content

Your Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Click here to continue shopping.

118-026 Rare Nepalese Bronze Statue of the Original Naga Buddha

I have been intrigued for a long time by the original stone relief images of the first iconography of the 'Naga Buddha' from Bodh Gaya, India. I was never able to acquire a statue of this particular version of the Naga Buddha, so, in 1980, I had one commissioned in Patan, Nepal. Furthermore, I have only come upon one actual sculpture of this aspect of the Buddha from a photo of a Thai temple. No location info was offered.
    The allegorical story related to this aspect of the Buddha is as follows: Four weeks after Buddha had attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, torrential rains came and flooded the entire area. The King of the Nagas, (serpents), came forth from a lake nearby and intent upon protecting the Buddha from the elements, he coiled his snake body around the Buddha and created a canopy, for his head, through the multi-headed hood he possessed. This image became the motif of the 'Naga Buddha'. Later, this image would alter and have the Buddha sitting atop the coils of the Naga King. Of course, this lessened the 'protective' nature of the Naga King's gesture. It promoted more of a feeling of the Buddha having subdued the Naga King.
         The life of the Buddha is full of stories of his quest to seek cooperation from the benevolent and malevolent aspects of the Naga Kingdom, to devote themselves toward the protection and furthering of the Dharma.
         Some scholars believed the coils of the Naga King represented the six realms of desire. The highest being, the realm of Deva-gati, where the heavenly beings reside, next, the realm of Asura-gati, where the titans of power reside, next, the realm of Preta-gati, where the hungry ghosts reside, then the realm of Naraka-gita, which is hell, then, the Tiragyoni-gati, realm of the animals, and finally, the lowest realm of Manusya-gati, where human beings reside.
          All of these realms are governed by fear, ignorance, impermanence and imperfection. It was the Buddha's calling to bring all the residents, of all the realms, into Nirvana. To begin that quest, he first had to gain the alliance of the Naga realm, to wield their power and persuasion to conquer the forces of darkness. I believe, this rare and magnificent image of the Buddha represents the beginning of that bond. It is the all encompassing embrace which is the key, the original, unadulterated, merging of equal forces. Not, the image of the Buddha subduing the Naga King, by sitting upon him. But, religion is all about control, unfortunately. It must be about unconditional inclusion for the quest to succeed.
               This is a one-of-a-kind piece. I have never come across another like it.


a. Origin Nepal
b. Estimated Age This piece was commissioned and produced in 1980
c. Craft (Embroidery etc) Handmade sculpture through lost wax casting-chased detail workmanship- Bronze
d. Size (mention cm/inches) 12 inches high x 6 inches wide- 5 1/2 pounds
e. Condition Report This piece is in excellent condition.
f. Damage & Shortcomings No visible damage. Naturally aged patina.
g. Item Location (Country) Thailand
Seller Name Michael Sandy
Seller's Email ID