Vasudeva Kamalaja

Vasudeva Kamalaja

This is a composite form of Vishnu (right side) and Lakshmi (left side). The identification is based on Vishnu’s attributes lotus (Padma), mace (Gada), conch shell (Shankha) and Discuss (Chakra) – lower to upper hands. Lakshmi is holding a vase, mirror (Darpana), lotus and Pustaka (palm leaves signifying knowledge) – lower to upper hands.

Their vahanas Garuda and tortoise are on their respective sides.Vasudevea Kamalaja back

This bronze is from Nepal. The subject, design of the prabhavali, gilding (traces remains) and the design of the attributes, to name some features, point in that direction. The attributes of Lakshmi is different to what you see in India.

In addition to the different attributes, notice the differences between the two sides, length of the lower garments, no of bangles (wristlets), breast and crown. The patterns of the lower garment are also different and hope the pictures do justice.

Normally composite figures are syncretic in nature. Harihara on this site is an example. But in the case of Vasudeva Kamalaja, according to Dr Pratapaditya Pal, it is a reflection of mutual love. There is no known cult following of Lakshmi and there was no need for ‘syncretism’.

Also to be noted in South Indian Vishnu bronzes, there is Srivatsa mark, signifying  Lakshmi, on Vishnu’s chest.  The composite image is related to the same concept but is more visual.

Vasudeva Kamalaja bronzes are also known from Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. In these cases, the deity is seen riding Garuda, Vishnu’s vahana.

This is one of the rarer bronzes in my collection. This is one of two complete (figure, base, vahanas and prabhavali) examples I have come across. The other example is in Musee Guimet, Paris.

This bronze is about 13.5 cm in height. This may be dated to the eighteenth century.

References:

Pratapaditya Pal:  Hindu Religion and Iconology 

Bansilal Malla: Vaishnava art and Iconography of Kashmir

1 Feb 2019: The photo below was provided by Sidharth and it is combined form of Narayana (Adipurusha) and Lakshmi (Adi Sakthi). It is from Neelmahadev temple, Orissa. It is said to represent Parambrahman and is used in Jaganath temple during closing of temple.

neelmadhavtempleparambrahman

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