Asian Art :
Art of India : Bronze figurine of the Indian deity Vishnu
Bronze figurine of the Indian deity Vishnu - CB.3188
Location: Great Britain
| Photo Gallery
Vishnu is one of the principal
deities of Hinduism, and the
Supreme Being in its Vaishnavism
tradition. Vishnu is the "preserver"
in the Hindu trinity (Trimurti) that
includes Brahma and Shiva.
Vishnu iconography show him with
a dark blue, blue-gray or black
colored skin, and as a well
dressed jeweled man. He is
typically shown with four arms.
The historic identifiers of his icon
include his image holding a conch
shell between first two fingers of
one hand (left back), a chakra –
war discus – in another (right
back). The conch shell is spiral
and symbolizes all of
interconnected spiraling cyclic
existence, while the discus
symbolizes him as that which
restores dharma with war if
necessary when cosmic
equilibrium is overwhelmed by
evil. One of his arms sometimes
carries a gadda (club, mace)
which symbolizes authority and
power of knowledge.
In the fourth arm, he holds a
lotus flower which symbolizes
purity and transcendence.
The items he holds in various
hands varies, giving rise to twenty
four combinations of iconography,
each combination representing a
special form of Vishnu. Each of
these special forms is given a
special name in texts such as the
Agni Purana and Padma Purana.
These texts, however, are
show him either in standing pose,
seated in a yoga pose, or
reclining. Hindu texts on
iconography describe design rules