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: Vajrapani, Vajrasattva
- Others...

Iconographic Types & Variations:
- Seated in a relaxed posture
- Seated in a relaxed posture with Indrani: HAR #30113
- Seated with arms outstretched
- 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 a horizontal position. The vajra scepter is very often placed on a flower blossom rising next to the left shoulder and sometimes held in the left hand.

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]