Vishnu as Vishvarupa (cosmic or universal man) thumbnail 1
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Vishnu as Vishvarupa (cosmic or universal man)

Painting
ca. 1800-1820 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This striking painting shows the blue-skinned Hindu god Vishnu in his form as the Universal Man or Vishvarupa, which means 'all forms'. The small figures painted on his body refer to his role as encompassing all of creation. He has four arms, each holding one of Vishnu's attributes; a conch shell, a lotus flower, a mace and the circular weapon called Sudarshana chakra (meaning 'beautiful discus').

The painting was probably done in Jaipur, Rajasthan, in about 1800-1805.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour on paper
Brief Description
Vishnu as Cosmic man, watercolour on paper, early 19th century, Jaipur.
Physical Description
Painting of a figure of Vishnu as the Cosmic Man. He is shown blue-skinned with an orange scarf against a black background. His body is covered with images of people and buildings to convey the idea of all of humanity.
Dimensions
  • Height: 38.5cm
  • Width: 28cm
Credit line
Given by Mrs Gerald Clark
Object history
Given by Mrs.Gerard Clark.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This striking painting shows the blue-skinned Hindu god Vishnu in his form as the Universal Man or Vishvarupa, which means 'all forms'. The small figures painted on his body refer to his role as encompassing all of creation. He has four arms, each holding one of Vishnu's attributes; a conch shell, a lotus flower, a mace and the circular weapon called Sudarshana chakra (meaning 'beautiful discus').



The painting was probably done in Jaipur, Rajasthan, in about 1800-1805.
Bibliographic References
  • Guy, John: 'Indian Temple Sculpture', London V & A Publication, 2007, p.70. pl.76. ISBN 971851775095
  • Diamond, D. Yoga: The Art of Transformation, Smithsonian Institute, 2013pp. 160. 163 and 299 cat. no. 10B
Collection
Accession Number
IS.33-2006

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record createdMay 14, 2008
Record URL