Anantasai

Vishnu with four hands is on his side in sleeping position, attended by his consorts Sri Devi and Bhu Devi. One of them is massaging his hands and leg and the other is massaging his legs and feet. Vishnu is holding Chakra and Shanka (Discuss and conch) in his hands. His right upper hand is meant to be supporting his head and the other is stretched along his left leg.

Five-headed Ananta, the name for this particular Cobra, is over Vishnu’s head. Vishnu and his consorts are sitting on the platform/bed by Ananta with his body coiled around (surprisingly anti-clockwise) for elevation. Vishnu in this form is Anantasai, the one who sleeps on Ananta.

The gap between Vishnu’s torso and snake bed and his head not being supported is bit contrived and suggests provincial source. The whole group is placed on a flat rectangular platform.

Vishnu in cosmic sleep is one of the most important forms, other than his avatars. Though this is the principal icon in several important Vishnu temples all over India and Nepal, metal images either used in festival procession or for personal devotion, like this one, are relatively few.

One of the surprising aspect of this Vigraha is its back. Almost invariably the Vigrahas from South India tend have their back worked on. But not this one. See the photo below. The back is crude and unfinished.

This icon is about 9.5 cm in height and 9 cm in width. It is quite likely this Vigraha is from Telugu speaking area (One time Andhra Pradesh). This may be dated to late 19th century.

There is one more Anantasai on this blog site. They make an interesting comparison.

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