Central Java, Indonesia

9th century

Volcanic andesite

27 × 24 in. (68.5 × 61 cm)

Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas, 2011.1

Piece Description:

makara is a mythical composite creature frequently seen in South and Southeast Asian art. In Central Java, makara appear in paintings, in relief carvings, and in three-dimensional sculpture, the latter usually as architectural or furniture ornaments. This sculpture has a join chiseled in the back for fitting it to another stone. As architectural elements, makara function in various ways: terminals for gateways, door surrounds, and throne backs; gargoyle-like spouts for the flow of water away from walls; and freestanding or attached to stair rails on an approach to a temple building. They are protectors whose power combines that of both terrestrial and aquatic animals. The foreparts of makara are usually mammalian, the jaws are alligator-like and the hindquarters are taken variously from fish, birds, and reptiles. Makara have curled elephant-like or manatee-like snouts, wide gaping jaws and, by virtue of their trunk, carry an association with water. In Hinduism they are seen as the vehicle of the goddess Ganga, who brought the River Ganges down to earth through Shiva’s hair and blessed the land. Often in a Buddhist context, a roaring lion (the voice of Buddhist Law) is placed in the makara’s open jaws.


The Crow makara head shows the elephantine snout drawn up and back and then curled under. Two boar-like fangs project from the upper gums. This makara, as in most of the Indian and Southeast Asian world, has flat square teeth for grinding. It has deep-set eyes, small tufted ears, and stylized sheep-like horns that curve around his head toward the jaw. A jeweled ornament secured at the head of the trunk falls between the teeth.




UTD Location Information: The new 186,000-square-foot Sciences Building opened in July and houses the Department of Physics, classrooms, offices, teaching and research labs, and some activities of the William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences. Outside the Sciences Building, students will be able to enjoy the new pedestrian-only section of Rutford Avenue as part of the third phase of the ongoing Campus Landscape Enhancement project.

The 186,000-square-foot Sciences Building opened in July 2020 and houses the Department of Physics, the William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences, classrooms, offices, and teaching and research labs. The building features 150-seat and 300-seat lecture halls and an open courtyard with green space and seating areas.

Letter: O

The Crow Museum of Asian Art Admin team has offices in this building (3rd floor).