This bronze image of a makara or mythical sea monster is from Tibet. It has been finely cast with its tail upright in the air. The tail is full of curls, scales on the body have been denoted by a cross-hatched motif, and the eager-looking face has been cast with a curling snout.
Most probably, it was intended as an element for some larger object.
Makaras are considered guardians of gateways and thresholds, tasked with protecting throne rooms, and entrances to temples.
A well-made, customised metal display stand is included with the makara.
Brauen, M., et al., Mandala: Sacred Circle in Tibetan Buddhism, Arnoldsche/Rubin Museum of Art, 2009.
Casey, J., et al, Divine Presence: Arts of India and the Himalayas, Casa Asia/5 Continents, 2003.
Pal, P., Art from the Himalayas & China: Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, Yale University Press, 2003.