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Four-Faced Vishnu

Asian Art

Because they date to a period when the Pancharatra sect was most influential, these two images are probably best identified as Chaturvyuha (or Four-Vyuha) Vishnu. The central face is that of Vishnu’s most supreme, most transcendent vyuha, or emanation, known as Vasudeva. The subsequent, less abstract vyuhas, in the form of a lion and a boar, appear at either side, with another vyuha implied at the back. The positions of the lion and boar heads differ in these two pieces, indicating that there was some disagreement about the way the viewer should read such an icon.
MEDIUM Red Sandstone
DATES 4th-5th century
PERIOD Gupta Period
DIMENSIONS 10 1/4 in. (26 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Asian Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 79.260.12
CREDIT LINE Gift of Marilyn W. Grounds
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION Four-Faced Vishnu, 4th-5th century. Red Sandstone, 10 1/4 in. (26 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Marilyn W. Grounds, 79.260.12. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE overall, 79.260.12_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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RECORD COMPLETENESS Good (64%)
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