Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Snakes in the Hair

Naga, Snakes & Serpents Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Janguli
- Manasa
- Maning Mahakala
- Manju Nagaraksha
- Nagaraja Buddha
- Nagarjuna
- Shakyamuni Buddha
- Others...

- Snakes in the Hair
- Naga Figures in Art

Additional Topics:
- Hoods Surrounding the Head: Janguli, Manasa, Nagaraja Buddha, Nagarjuna
- Emanations from the Hair: Maning Mahakala, Manju Nagaraksha
- Decorations in the Hair & Earrings: Mahakala, Shri Devi, Wrathful Appearance

There are three deity figures which appear to have serpent hoods surrounding the head. They are Janguli, Manasa and Nagaraja Buddha. Arya Nagarjuna of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and the father of Madhyamaka is also depicted with a hood of snakes.

There are two main iconographic forms which are typically displayed with snakes emanating from their heads: Maning Mahakala and Manju Nagaraksha. There are likely to be more examples of this type of depiction found with deities in wrathful appearance.

The snake decorations that adorn the bodies of wrathful figures are representations of the Eight Great Nagas. They are generally differentiated by colour. Various forms of Shri Devi are adorned with a pair of snake and lion earrings.

Jeff Watt 5-2023

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).