The image of the vyala, a mythical rearing lion, sometimes represented as a composite beast, was a lasting trope spanning two thousand years not only throughout the Indian subcontinent but also extending to neighboring regions in which Buddhist and Hindu philosophy became the established cultural orientation. Here, the slender, naturalistic form with supple flesh, together with the cylindrical pilaster topped by a ribbed amalaka fruit shape suggests a notably early date for this sculpture. Compare with an example at the Seattle Art Museum (see D. Mason, Gods, Guardians, and Lovers, 1993, p. 177, cat. no. 23).