Illustration principale
Important stel of Vishnu
Madhya Pradesh, India, 800-900 AD
Pink sandstone
Height : 112 cm

Provenance : Christophe Hioco, Paris
Vishnu is a Hindu god, the Supreme God of Vaishnavism (one of the three principal denominations of Hinduism) and one of the three supreme deities (Trimurti) of Hinduism. He is also known as Narayana and Hari. As one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta tradition, he is conceived as “the Preserver or the Protector” within the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the divinity.
In Hindu sacred texts, Vishnu is usually described as having dark complexion of water-filled clouds and as having four arms. He is depicted as a pale blue being, as are his incarnations Rama and Krishna. He holds a padma (lotus ower) in his lower left hand, the Kaumodaki gada (mace) in his lower right hand, the Panchajanya shankha (conch) in his upper left hand and the discus weapon Sudarshana Chakra in his upper right hand.
Vishnu has ten avatars or worldly appearances, which are people, animals or a mix of both. He is Buddha, the heroes : Krishna, Rama and Parashurama, Nara-Simha or Narasimba (the man-lion), Vamana (the dwarf), Matsya (the sh), Kurma (the tortoise), Varaha (the boar) and nally he will be Kalki, who will appear when the world ends, riding a white horse and heralding the start of a new golden age.
This stele shows an extremely rare depiction of the god Vishnu in a seated position, in vajra-paryanka- asana, the “adamantine throne” position, made with the legs crossed at the ankles, and both soles of the feet showing, pointed upward. The two upper arms are missing but we can identify one of his attributes : the chakra, symbolizing the power of the spirit. He is wearing a tall headdress which rests on a circular halo. On the upper part of the stele we can see Varaha, the boar, and Narasimha the man- lion, surrounding Buddha. The characters underneath are certainly Brahmâ and Shiva, the two other gods of the Hindu trinity, respectively the creator and the destroyer in the position of lalîtâsana.
At the bottom of the stele, the two standing divinity are in the position of tribhanga, or tribent pose, and we can recognize Lakshmi at the right.
The eyes are closed and the lips suggest a gentle smile, the face of the god is serene, and conveys an intense meditative expression. The proportions of the body are perfect, and the overall equilibre of the sculpture is harmonious.
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