Memory, Memento, and Sacred Bond

Votive Plaque with Vighnantaka

  • 83
  • India, Bihar (?)
  • 11th century
  • Terracotta with pigment
  • H. 3 3/4 x W. 3 1/4 x D. 3/4 in. (9.5 x 8.3 x 1.9 cm)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Marilyn Walter Grounds, AC 1993.239.12

The style and presence of the Buddhist creed, incised in Nagari script along the edge of this small plaque, indicate an eastern Indian provenance. Its imagery, however, addresses a more international audience. The deity is a member of the vighnantaka, a popular class of wrathful protective deities in the Vajrayana tradition, which prevailed in the Tibetan cultural region. Clay votive tablets, called tsha-tsha in Tibetan, were transported great distances by Buddhist pilgrims visiting sacred Indian sites. This plaque is said to have been recovered from the interior of a Tibetan metal image.

PHOTO CREDIT: © 2009 Museum Associates/ Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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