Vishnu (Kerala)

This is Vishnu and it is from Kerala. The identification is based on the Chakra, Shankah and Gada in his hands. Clockwise starting from the upper right hand. The lower right hand, unfortunately, is damaged. Kerala bronzes are rare and they merit preservation.

Here Vishnu is standing in Samabhanga, his usual posture while standing.

Kerala defines its own norms in iconography and method of production (A combination of typical casting and Dokhra techniques). There are always some differences when compared to other South Indian states.

Note the Chakra’s shape, a rectangle rather than a circle. The highly decorated lower garment’s side and central tassels/fold and beaded decoration are quite distinct.

The physical features of broad shoulders, and narrow waist but still the pronounced abdomen (No six-packs here) merit attention. Naturalistic depiction. You see such portrayal in Kerala bronzes of male figures of worshippers and saints.

Patination, some wear to the face and pitted surface suggest some age to the Vigraha. This can be dated to the pre-16th century and it may date to the 14th century. Kerala bronze style is highly fragmented and documented Vigrahas are rare.

The usual disclaimer: Any assessment of age remains an educated guess and just that.

The Vigraha is about 22 cm in height.


An article on Vaishnava Bronze Images of Kerala By Preeta Nayar.


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