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Sculpture - Varaha and Bhumi

Varaha and Bhumi

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Tamil Nadu (made)

  • Date:

    15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Varaha, with boar's head and human body representing the third Avatara of Vishnu, seated on an oval lotus-base pedestal with Bhu Devi (Earth Goddess) on his left knee. He is four armed; the upper right holding the wheel (cakra), poised between the first two fingers; the upper left, the conch (sankha), similarly poised. The lower arms embrace the goddess. Varaha's right leg is pendent and rest on the five hooded serpent, Adisesha. He wears a cylindrical coronet (kirita akuta), sacred cord, waist band, bracelets at the elbows, and a striped lower garment. His pig ears are illogically stretched like human ears and ornamented with makara-kundala ear pendants. There is a srivasta symbol above his right breast. Bhu Devi is sitting on his knee with hands in anjali pose, her hair dressed into a high bun (kesabandha). She wears a striped lower garment and breastband (kucha-bandha). When received by the museum, this image was very heavily encrusted with carbonate matter formed during earth burial; it was subsequently cleaned by electrolysis.

Place of Origin

Tamil Nadu (made)


15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques



Height: 44.5 cm, Width: 29.7 cm, Depth: 22.8 cm

Object history note

Bought in 1924 from Mrs. L.S.Bradley, widow of Herbert Bradley, (Madras Civil Service, 1878-1909).

On the file MA/1/B2237, Nominal File, Bradley, L.S. Mrs., the Keeper of the Indian Section, Caspar Stanley Clarke, notes (10 January 1924):
'The objects submitted for purchase have been selected from an important collection formed by the late Herbert Bradley, CSI, Barr., ICS, member of the Legislative Council of Madras, etc etc. See cutting from the India Office List'. He adds 'The vendor's husband, an exceedingly shrewd collector, took many years in forming his collection, and, by the way, was the first to call the attention of Lord Ampthill to the magnificent S.I. bronzes which are now on loan here'.
The cutting from the IO List adds that Herbert Bradley arrived in India in 1878 and served in Madras as 'asst.collr. and mag.; sec. to the commr. of salt, abkari and separate rev., April 1888; collr. and mag., July, 1894; member, rev.board, Nov., 1900; ditto, and commr. of salt, &c., rev., May, 1901; addl. member, legisl. council, Madras, Dec., 1900, Nov., 1902, March, 1904, and March, 1906; CSI Jan., 1906; acted as chief sec., to govt. on various occasions from May, 1905; temp. member of govr.'s council, Feb. to April, 1908; chief sec. to Govt. of Madras, Nov., 1908; retd., Oct, 1909.

Descriptive line

Seated figure of Varaha and Bhumi, bronze, Tamil Nadu, 15th century.

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

Dehejia, Vidya, Eskenazi, John, and Guy, John. Chola: Sacred Bronzes of Southern India. London : Royal Academy of Arts, 2006. ISBN 10:1-903973-83-X / 13:978-1-903973-83-7 / 10:1-903973-84-8 / 13:978-1-903973-84-4.
p. 117, cat. 21
no. 61
Haworth-Booth, Mark; Indian Sculpture: A Travelling Exhibition, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 1971

Labels and date

Copper alloy
Reportedly excavated in Patukota District
Thanjavur, Tamilnada,
South India
Vijayanagar period
c.15th century [25/09/2000]

Production Note

Said to have been dug up in 1904 in the precints of the "Great Temple of Shiva", near Avardayarkovil, Patukota District, Thanjavur, South India




Sculpture; Hinduism


South & South East Asia Collection

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