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Vajradakini, c. 1200

Tibet, 1175-1225
Brass inlaid with copper and silver
4-1/2 in. (11.4 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

Not on View

A group of eight goddesses known as dakinis, or “sky-walkers,” play an important role in tantric or esoteric Buddhism. These female spirits are both human and divine, serving as teachers, removers of physical and spiritual obstacles and mediators between the earthly and higher levels of consciousness. Vajradakini wields a vajra, or thunderbolt, in her raised right hand. She wears leopard and tiger skins and has double strands of pearls encircling her ankles, wrists and elbows. Snakes writhe around her ample belly.

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