Lakshminarayana (Nepal)

This is Lakshminarayana, as Vishnu and Lakshmi are known when they are together. Seated forms of Lakshminarayana are more common than the standing forms.

The vigraha by itself is only about 5 cm in height and the attributes are not readily discernible. Vishnu’s attributes can be related to Chakra, Shankha, Gada and Padma. Lakshmi’s attributes are vase, mirror, lotus and Pustaka. The identification is reinforced by the Garuda (Vishnu’s vahana) and the Tortoise (Lakshmi’s vahana).

As per South Indian Iconography (Reference: Elements of Hindu Iconography by TAG Rao) when the Goddess is on her own, meaning when not accompanied by her spouse, she will have four arms otherwise she is shown with two arms. Nepal traditions appear to be different.

The Vigraha as we see it is a repurposed one. See the photo above for the two parts and they did not start the journey together. The top portion is probably from a lamp and for an example such a lamp see Surya. The bottom portion is added to give the deities the peetha and stability as the deities part is not stable by itself. Cleaver design. Another indication is the peetha covers Lakshmi’s left leg. Unusual.

This Vigraha is from Nepal and may be dated to the nineteenth century or earlier. The overall height is about 7.5 cm.


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