Lokapala with the Vara Mudra hand gesture
The image shows the statue of Lokapala carved on the inner wall of the balustrade surrounding the inner sanctum of the Shiva Temple in Prambanan, which is located 11 miles northeast of Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Lokapala (means guardian of the world in Sanskrit) is seated on a beautifully decorated throne (partly damaged). Lokhapalas are also guardians of the directions. For example, Indra is a lokapala who guards the east direction.
Lokapala is in a sitting position with the Vara Mudra getsure, i.e., the right-hand palm is open upwards with the fingers slightly pointing downwards. This gesture indicates the person is handing out varas, which in Sanskrit means boons. Therefore, the varamudra gesture symbolizes charity and compassion. Typically, statues facing south have the Vara Mudra gestures, implying that the Lokapala in this relief guards the south direction.
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