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Vishnu as Matsya

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Tehri Garhwal (Pahari, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1860 - ca. 1870 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Mrs. Grace S. Anderson in memory of her husband John Anderson, M. D., C. E. O., F. R. S.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Painting, in opaque watercolour on paper, depicting the fish (Matsya) incarnation of Vishnu. Illustration to a Vishnu Avatara series. To the right, Vishnu is depicted crowned, wearing a brocaded yellow garment; two of his four arms hold the Vedas recovered from the horse-headed demon Hayagriva, in his belt are tucked a shell and pink lotus. He issues from the mouth of the saphari fish; round a horn on the fish's head is tied a rope formed by a white snake, whose tail is fastened to a boat. In the boat stand the saga Manu and the seven rishis (sages). Beneath the grey, swirling flood lies the dead body of Hayagriva, holiding a sword, with blood pouring from his horse's head.

Place of Origin

Tehri Garhwal (Pahari, made)


ca. 1860 - ca. 1870 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour on paper


Height: 298 mm page approx., Width: 406 mm page, Height: 222 mm image within innermost painted borders, Width: 324 mm image within innermost painted borders

Descriptive line

Painting, Matsya, the fish incarnation of Vishnu, opaque watercolour on paper, Tehri Garhwal, ca. 1860-1870

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

p. 122, cat. no. 38 (ii)
Indian paintings from the Punjab Hills : a survey and history of Pahari miniature painting / by W. G. Archer ; foreword by Sherman E. Lee. London :Delhi: Sotheby Parke Bernet ;Oxford University Press, 1973 Number: 0856670022


Paint; Opaque watercolour; Paper



Subjects depicted

Deity; Fish; Boat; River; Demon


Paintings; Hinduism; Religion; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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