Himalayan Art Resources

Hindu Deity: Indra (Shakra) Main Page

Indra Main Page | Hindu Tradition Main Page

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Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Indra Description (below)
- Indrani (consort)
- Hindu Deities
- Hindu Gods Index/Glossary
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

Iconographic Types & Variations:
- Seated in a relaxed posture
- Seated in a relaxed posture with Indrani: HAR #30113
- Seated with arms outstretched HAR #13092, 200584
- Standing: HAR #59629, 65761, 86310
- Riding a white elephant
- Mask: HAR #90066
- Holding a conch: HAR #80635
- Retinue figure in narrative depictions of the Buddha's life story
- Holding a stringed instrument (Wheel of Life Paintings)
- Retinue figure in a mandala
- Figure beneath the feet (trampled) of Buddhist deities such as Hevajra, Vajrabhairava, etc.
- Others

Identification: the God Indra is generally identified by three iconographic features: crown, horizontal eye on the forehead and a vajra scepter. The unique crown is broad and fan shaped. The third eye in the middle of the forehead is in horizontal position. The vajra scepter is very often placed on a flower blossom rising next to the left shoulder.

In Buddhist paintings Indra is often depicted with a stringed instrument most commonly found in paintings and murals of the Buddhist Wheel of Life. In these depictions Indra is often confused and mis-identified as the goddess Sarasvati (see examples).

Jeff Watt 2-2014 [updated 6-2017]