Vishnu with attendants (Western India)

This is Vishnu with his consort, possibly Sri Devi, on his left and Garuda, his vahana on his right. Vishnu is towering over his attendants, and his height is three times that of his consorts. Quite a forceful and visual way showing position and power.

Vishnu is holding Chakra, Gada, Shankha and Padma (Discuss, Mace, Conch shell and Lotus) in his hands. Clockwise starting with his lower right hand. Vishnu and his attendants are standing on inverted lotus which in turn is supported by Triratha type Bhadrapeetha.

The prabhavali is quite stylized and topped by Kalasa, an auspicious water pot. On top of prabhavali’s verticals are two four-armed figures. Quite possibly they are Siva and Brahma, worn and small for positive identification. Vishnu’s backdrop is a halo designed like a lotus.

Garuda, the male figure on Vishnu’s right, is identified by the cobra he is holding in his left hand. This Vigraha has lot in common with an altar piece (N. 1983.2.S) with Norton Simon Museum. In Norton Simon example, Garuda is on Vishnu’s left. As the museum site does not provide an image, reproduced the image from the book, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum by Dr Pratapaditya Pal (Page 164, Item no 124)

This Vigraha is possibly from Gujarat (Western India for sure). The material, relative sizes of Vishnu and his consorts (In South India Vigrahas the consorts are larger in size), the stubs connecting the deities to the prabhavali, design of Vishnu’s crown (the side protuberances) are some of the features that lead to the geographic attribution. The Vigraha is about 16.5 cm in height. The Norton Simon museum example is dated to the 10th century.

Reference: Heritage of Metallic Art of Gujarat (1995) by Swarnakamal. Published by Department of Museum, Gujarat.

Below is a composite image of some of the other Vishnu triads in my collection.

26 May 2021: Updated the blog significantly. Earlier I had, incorrectly, identified the figure on Vishnu’s right as his consort. Thanks HJH, a senior collector, the identification is now corrected. It is Garuda, Vishnu’s vahana. Below is a close up of Vishnu’s attendants Garuda and Sri Devi.


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