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Varaha Rescuing Bhu Devi

Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, Arts of South Asia, 2nd floor
The Hindu god Vishnu is said to have descended from heaven several times in order to save mankind. When he descends he assumes special forms, called avatars. He once became a boar, named Varaha, and plunged to the bottom of the primordial ocean to retrieve the drowning earth.

This image of Varaha shows him with the earth (in the form of a goddess) seated on his shoulder. He has the head of a boar, but the four arms and superhuman body of the god Vishnu, and his raised foot suggests that he is stepping out of the ocean.
  • Place Made: Kerala, India
  • DATES ca. 14th–15th century
    DIMENSIONS 12 3/4 x 7 3/4 x 5 1/8 in. (32.4 x 19.7 x 13 cm) mount: 12 3/4 × 7 7/8 × 5 1/4 in. (32.4 × 20 × 13.3 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Paul E. Manheim
    PROVENANCE Prior to 1969, provenance not yet documented; by 1969, acquired by Paul Manheim of Brooklyn, NY; 1978, gift of Paul Manheim to the Brooklyn Museum.
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    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, Arts of South Asia, 2nd floor
    CAPTION Varaha Rescuing Bhu Devi, ca. 14th–15th century. Bronze, 12 3/4 x 7 3/4 x 5 1/8 in. (32.4 x 19.7 x 13 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Paul E. Manheim, 78.259.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 78.259.1_back_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 78.259.1_back_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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