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Vishnu as Matsya

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Chamba (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1860 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mangnu (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Painting, in opaque watercolour on paper, Vishnu, as the fish incarnation Matsya, wearing a yellow dhoti, bludgeons a conch demon with his mace (gada) as he emerges from the jaws of a large fish. Four gods stand to the side in the upper left hand corner.

Place of Origin

Chamba (made)


ca. 1860 (made)


Mangnu (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour on paper


Height: 200 mm approx., maximum, Width: 126 mm approx., maximum, Height: 237 mm paper onto which object mounted, Width: 179 mm paper onto which object mounted

Object history note

IS. 90 to 128-1954 were purchased for £150, from Maggs Bros. Originally obtained by Jagdish Mittal of Hyderabad in Chamba in 1952, from the family collection of Hira Lal of Chamba whose father's elder brother was the artist Mangnu.

Historical context note

Pahari painting is a style of miniature painting of the Rajput courts in what is now Himachal Pradesh. Chamba, an important centre of Pahari painting, is situated in the Ravi Valley in the heart of the Himalaya mountains.

Descriptive line

Painting, Matsya, the fish incarnation of Vishnu, by Mangnu, opaque watercolour on paper, Chamba, ca. 1860

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Archer, W.G. 'Indian Paintings From The Punjab Hills: A Survey and History of Pahari Miniature Painting', Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1973, p.91


Opaque watercolour; Paint; Paper



Subjects depicted

Shell; Conch; Demon; Deity; Fish


Paintings; Hinduism; Religion; Myths & Legends; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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