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HOME : Asian Art : Art of Nepal : Stone Stele Depicting Vishnu and Lakshmi
Stone Stele Depicting Vishnu and Lakshmi - HK.2002
Origin: Nepal
Circa: 11 th Century AD to 13 th Century AD
Dimensions: 26" (66.0cm) high x 18" (45.7cm) wide
Collection: Nepalese
Style: Pala
Medium: Stone

Additional Information: Hong Kong

Location: UAE
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The arched stele finely carved in relief depicting the Hindu god Vishnu form seated with his consort Lakshmi on his knee upon a lotus pedestal, accompanied by the kneeling Garuda on his right and Kurma on his left. Vishnu's four arms radiate around him holding various attributes, his consort's left hand raised in abhaya mudra and right hand lowered in varada mudra, both jewelled and wearing long floral garlands. Each deity is surrounded by a pearl-and-flame aureole, as is the entire ensemble.

Regarded as the Preserver of the Universe, Vishnu is one of the most important gods in the Hindu pantheon. In the center of the symmetrical and hierarchical composition, Vishnu holds four attributes in his four hands: a club (gada) representing his power in his upper left hand; a lotus (padma) that alludes to rebirth in his lower right; a now broken wheel (cakra) for enlightenment in his lower left; and a conch (sankha) representing life-giving water in his upper right.

The stone panel preserves a notable stint of red. Red, a sign of both sensuality and purity in Hinduism, is the hue used for important occasions, such as weddings, births and festivals. During prayer, red powder is tossed upon sacred statues, and deities who are brave are often shown wearing red. Therefore, it suggests that this stone panel was socially functional, situated in religious sites and temples. This practice is still alive today in Nepal and India, among other regions. - (HK.2002)


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