We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Buddha sheltered by the seven-headed serpent Muchalinda

early 19th century


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Titles
    Figure of Buddha (enthroned on the seven headed naga)
    Buddha enthroned on seven headed cobra
    Buddha enthroned under the seven headed naga
    Buddha sheltered by the naga Muchalinda
    Place where the work was made
    early 19th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    bronze, gold leaf, crystal
    74.3 x 54.3 x 33.4 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased 1948
    Naala Nura, lower level 1, Asian Lantern galleries
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    In the Bangkok period, the patronage and glorification of Buddhism continued as the principal theme of the arts. This seated gilt Buddha sheltering under the seven headed 'naga' is typical of the showy glitter cherished at this time. Its iconography relates to the life story of the Historical Buddha, Shakyamuni: in the fifth week of the seven weeks he meditated after attaining Enlightenment, when he was seated at the edge of Lake Muchalinda, a terrible storm arose, causing the waters of the lake to rise. Seeing that Buddha was lost in meditation, the serpent ('naga') king Muchalinda slipped his coils under Buddha's body, lifting him above the flood. At the same time, he spread the hoods of his seven heads to shelter him. This image is found throughout Southeast Asia.

    ‘The Asian Collections: Art Gallery of New South Wales’. pg.332
    © 2003 Trustees, Art Gallery of New South Wales

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 5 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 4 publications

  • Provenance

    G.J.E. Fombertaux Esq, pre 1948, Lindfield/Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1948.