Buddhist Deity Indra (Taishakuten) Carver: Unknown

10th century

Asian Art

On view, 2nd floor, Asian Art

An important god who controls storms and rain, Indra is one of many early Indian deities that, over time, became known as protectors of Buddhism and its practitioners. This example—one of the most significant religious sculptures in the Gallery’s collection—was carved from a single block of wood (with the exception of the left sleeve and hand), using a technique that is characteristic of Japanese sculpture dating to the early Heian period. Traces of pigment on the garment indicate that it was once brightly colored.


Single block of torreya wood with traces of gesso and pigment


41 × 19 × 7 1/2 in. (104.1 × 48.3 × 19.1 cm)

Credit Line

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., Class of 1913, Fund

Accession Number



Heian period (794–1185)


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Mathias Komor, New York, 1963; purchased by the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1963
  • Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan, "The Interstitial Buddha: Picturing the Death of Sakyamuni," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2007), 50–52, fig. 5
  • Sadako Ohki, "Japanese Art at Yale," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2007), 36
  • Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 303, ill
  • George J. Lee, Selected Far Eastern Art in the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1970), 38–39, no. 59, ill
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

figures (representations), religious art





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