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Herpestes Spp., the indian mongooses

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Chapter Summary

Mongooses are small carnivorous animals with a slender body, short limbs, an elongated head with a pointed muzzle and a muscular, tapering tail. Stone sculptures of a mongoose seem to be limited to the Hindu god of wealth Kubera and his Buddhist counterpart Jambhala; a possible exception might be provided by an early panel illustrating the Indrashailaguha Visit of the Buddha from Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. The iconography of Kubera/Jambhala gives the impression of a gradual transition from a large money bag held in front (fourth to sixth century), through a smaller bag over his knee (sixth to eighth century), to a mongoose on his knee (tenth to twelfth century) or held high in the air (eleventh century) but different iconographies may be present in the same area or the same period.

Keywords: Herpestes species; iconography; Indian mongoose; narrative reliefs; stone sculptures



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