< Back to collection


Stele with Vishnu, His Consorts, His Avatars, and Other Dieties

Vishnu, the maintainer of the universe in Hindu mythology, here holds a mace (representing power) and the wheel of time (chakra) in the upper two of his four hands. The palm of his lower-right hand displays a lotus blossom, symbol of purity, and his lower-left hand holds a conch shell symbolizing victory over demons. The small figures on the right and left represent eight of his avatars, or incarnations. The Buddha and Kalkin, the traditional ninth and tenth avatars, are not shown here and were perhaps not incorporated into Hindu iconography in the middle Pala period. Vishnu stands on a double-lotus pedestal that is supported by his winged vehicle, Garuda, the eagle.


Brooklyn Museum Logo