figure

figure

17th century
Country
India
figure
Anonymous Gift
1965.8
. figure. 17th century. Anonymous Gift. 1965.8.
This object is currently on view
Dimensions
height: 11.5 in, 29.2100 cm; width: 52 in, 132.0800 cm; depth: 2.125 in, 5.3975 cm
Department
Asian
Collection
Asian

Reclining Vishnu
1600s
India
Polychromed wood
Anonymous gift
1965.8

This wooden carving (possibly a door lintel) is an excellent example of the different ways artists expressed Hindu narratives in India (see facing page for a bronze image of the same story). The carving shows Vishnu resting on his serpent, Ananta, and refers to the birth of Brahma. Three of Brahma’s four heads can be seen just atop the petals of a lotus stemming from Vishnu’s navel; Brahma’s birth in this manner symbolizes the creation of the universe. Two of Vishnu’s wives sit at the deity’s head and feet, and a fantastical water creature known as a makara sits next to nine of Vishnu’s ten incarnations.