Narasimha (with a difference)

While collecting antiques, sometimes it is not the age/antiquity or the aesthetics that gets your attention. Like it is in this case. Here the subject matter, the iconography and the pure expression of devotion stand out.

The four-armed seated figure, identified as Narasimha, is holding a Chakra and a shanka in his rear hands. The front hands are holding a sword and a shield. The attributes in the rear hands, the stylized mane, whiskers and the absence of a tail identifies him as Narasimha. (This website has a four-armed Hanuman holding a Shankha and a Chakra).

Sword and shield are among the attributes of Narasimha. The Victoria and Albert Museum has an example of an eight-armed Narasimha (IND.LOST.167) holding a sword and a shield.

Chennakesava temple, Somnathpur has a sculpture of Narasimhing fighting Hiranyakasyapu holding a sword and a shield. The photo, taken by me, is to our left.

I have not come across any other sculptural references to this iconography. It is this ‘oddity’ that earned its place in my collection.

This is likely to be a pilgrim piece from a specific temple.

The Vigraha is about 6 cm in height. I have no guess as to where it is from, though South India is a possibility. It is less than 100 years old.

12 Feb 2023: This Vigraha is now with Wolf Friedman, a Narasimha Bhakta. I could not say no to his request and his desire to give Narasimha a good home. Just for the record, it is an exception.


Sharing my passion

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