A relief depicting Garuda

This relief depicts Garuda, the half-man, half-bird ‘vahana’, the mount or vehicle, of Vishnu with a cobra dangling from his hand. In this relief, Garuda is depicted essentially as a human with a beak-like nose and a rooster comb to add on the bird-like features to his appearance. He is gracefully sculpted and his pose implies power and energy. His downward gaze suggests that it was placed high on the walls or superstructure of a temple, to be looked up at from below.The art of terracotta sculptures reached its peak during the Gupta period (c.320-600 C.E.) which is often considered as the great classical period of Indian art. Their artists rendered the human form according to the principles of proportion and ideals of beauty that came to define Indian classical norms. The Gupta dynasty ruled over much of north India, and the style associated with it continued to flourish even after its collapse around the middle of the 6th century.

5th-6th century
Bihar or Bengal, Eastern India
Object size: H:36 x W:29 x D:12 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum