Protector Deity Kshetrapala

Title: Protector Deity Kshetrapala

Location: Tibet, Tsang Provence

Culture: Tibetan

Medium: Gilded copper alloy with traces of paint.

Dimensions: Height: 7 1/8 in, Width: 5 13/16 in, Diamete: 3 3/8 in.

Repository: The Walters Museum

Image Description: Crafted on top of a black stone block stands a roaring bear, on all fours, and his rider, the Protector Deity Kshetrapala, howling alongside his tamed beast. The sculpture is seven inches tall, five inches wide, and three inches long. It is crafted from gilded copper alloy with traces of paint. This makes the sculpture dark, almost black, in some areas like the stand and the bear, however, parts of Kshetrapala are painted over giving them a worn golden finish. Being a protector deity, specifically of fields and crops, Kshetrapala has to intimidate and defend which is why he rides a bear, holds a knife in his right hand, and a mug with an unsettling purpose in his left. Furthermore, Kshetrapala uses his yell, which is always echoed by his bear’s yell, to scare off his foes and evil spirits. However, if that does not work, the aggressive deity uses his knife to skin and butcher his enemies, storing their blood and skin in his mug. Kshetrapala has a crown resting above his forehead, and keeps his hair in a bun which is visible behind and above the crown. Hanging off his ears, he wears large circular earrings, and hanging off the back of his head, resting along his shoulders, there is a lengthy linear subject, which could presumably be a snake used to fight off his opposition.


Author: Ryan Mach

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