Horned Garuda
Polychromed papier-mâché mask, silk, and cotton; late 19th-early 20th century
Chojin Lama Temple Museum, Ulaan Baatar

The ancient Indian sun-eagle, always represented in the act of devouring a snake, appears in Lamaist art at the top of the nimbus of images. He was adopted from the shamanist tradition into the Buddhist pantheon of Mongolia and the repertoire of the Tsam festival as one of the Four Terrifying Faces, who were regarded as incarnations of famous shamans of antiquity. Garuda was identified with the spirit of Mt. Bogdo Ula, which rises to a thousand meters above the grasslands south of the present-day Ulaan Baatar. The addition of the horns suggests that Garuda may also have been associated with the horned heavenly bird Khyung, which plays a role in the legends of all countries of the Himalayas.

July 12 - September 17, 2000

Asia Society at Midtown
502 Park Avenue, at 59th Street

The Asia Society exhibition is drawn from the larger exhibition Dancing Demons of Mongolia presented at the Nieuwe Kerk Museum in Amsterdam. The material on this Web site has been adapted from the book Dancing Demons of Mongolia by Jan Fontein and other sources.

Dancing Demons: Ceremonial Masks of Mongolia and related Mongolia programs are made possible by the Trust for Mutual Understanding, Frank and Lisina Hoch, John Guth, The Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky Fund, Kathryn and Ernest H. Frank, Eleanor Briggs, Susan Lynch, and Frederick W. Richmond.

Support for the Asia Societyís Cultural Programs is provided by the Friends of Asian Arts, Wallace - Readerís Digest Funds, The Starr Foundation, The Armand G. Erpf Fund, The Arthur Ross Foundation, the Harold J. and Ruth Newman Philanthropic Fund, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Web site by Smith Renaud, Inc.