11th-12th century, Pāla period
H. 20 cm
The miniature stone stele comes from the tradition of miniature devotional stelae created for Buddhist practitioners by craftsmen in the Pāla empire in northeast India.
Heruka, the ‘blood drinker’, is a demonic deity from Lamaism Buddhism, haunting the world between death and rebirth and attacking the soul of the deceased, whom he strikes down on this stele. He is depicted in the middle of flames, in Ardhaparyaṅka, a terrible dance position. We also note the presence of skulls decorating his attributes.
Provenance: Danish private collection, then Marcel Nies, Antwerp, 20 June 2006.