Mask of Ferocious Bhuta Deity
Narasimha, the man-lion reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, is the hero of a popular legend from Hindu mythology. In this legend the demon Hiranyakashipu had a boon from the god Brahma that he could not be killed by any human being, animal, or god; that he could not be killed during the day or night; that he could not be killed on the earth or in the sky; that he could not be killed by a weapon; and that he could not be killed either outside a house or inside one. With such a boon, he began to consider himself immortal and to oppress pious and religious people. He tortured his son Prahlad because he persisted in worshiping Vishnu. To save his devotee, Vishnu incarnated himself with the face and head of a lion and the body of a man. He annihilated Hiranyakashipu at dusk on the threshold of his house by tearing open his stomach with his claws, thus avoiding the terms of Brahma's boon.
ca. 18th century
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Purchase gift of Dr. Bertram H. Schaffner
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Mask of Ferocious Bhuta Deity, ca. 18th century. Brass, approx. height: 19 in. (48.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchase gift of Dr. Bertram H. Schaffner, 1996.24. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1996.24_SL1.jpg)
overall, 1996.24_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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