Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Image: Vamana

Vamana avatar of Vishnu
India, Uttar Pradesh; 10th century

More about Vamana at Wikipedia.

From the Museum site: Standing tall despite his diminutive proportions, this dwarf, Vamana, is an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. He holds Vishnu’s attributes—the club and discus in his upper hands and the conch shell in his lower left hand—and makes the gesture of giving. As preserver of cosmic order, Vishnu descends to earth to restore balance whenever the world is threatened by evil. When the king Bali was becoming too powerful, Vishnu came to earth as a dwarf and, dressed as a pious student of Hindu knowledge, asked the king for the amount of land he could cover in three steps. Thinking he had nothing to lose, the king granted the dwarf’s request, whereupon Vishnu transformed himself into the giant Trivikrama, covering the entire earth with his first step, the heavens with his second step, and with his third step pushing Bali into the netherworld.


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