Image of Garuda, about 1875. Bali, Indonesia. Polychromed wood; 29 x 18 x 17 1/4 in.
Denver Art Museum: Purchase for the Frederic H. Douglas Collection, 1956.8
Garuda (Vehicle of Vishnu)
Museum purchase for the Frederic H. Douglas Collection
For centuries, trade and the spread of Indian religious practices allowed Hinduism to make a lasting impression upon the people of Bali. Although later Arab traders brought Islam to Indonesia, to this day the island of Bali remains primarily Hindu. Garuda, the half-man/half-eagle vehicle associated with the Hindu god Vishnu, is an especially popular figure who is believed to ward off snakes. Ornately carved and decorated images of this type were often placed in the rafters of open-air pavilions and palaces. This well-preserved sculpture provides an idea of what these figures may have looked like before their color disappeared due to neglect and the passing of time