VaishnaviThis four armed goddess is holding stalk (of a lotus?), chakra (discuss), shankha (conch) and mace (gada) in her hands, starting from lower right hand clockwise. She is seated in Lalitasana on a cylindrical pedestal, which in turn is placed on a two tiered rectangular Bhadrapeetam. Her ornamentation is complete from crown to anklets. As is typical with South India bronzes back of the bronze is also worked on.Vaishnavai (Back)

This goddess, by virtue of the attributes she is carrying, is identified as Vaishnavi, Vishnu’s Shakti counterpart but not Vishnu’s consort. The position of Vishnu’s consorts is taken by Sri devi and Bhu devi in South India and by Sri Devi/Lakshmi and  Saraswati in Bengal. (Yes more about Saraswati as Vishnu’s consort in the blog on Seated Vishnu – Pala).

Vaishnavi is also one of the Saptamatrikas (Seven mother goddesses). Normally Saptamatrikas appear together and stone sculptures of them are more common. Quite often Saptamatrikas are shown with their respective Vahanas. Vaishnavi’s vahana is Garuda.

This bronze is from Karnataka and shows signs of worship. It is about 10 cm in height. The tassles in chakra and shankha were introduced in the eighteenth century and that puts an upper limit as to the age of this bronze.




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