Vishnu and Lakshmi

Painting
ca. 1870 (made)
Vishnu and Lakshmi  thumbnail 1
Vishnu and Lakshmi  thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The Hindu god Vishnu is shown in this painting in the form he takes between the destruction of one universe and the creation of the next, an episode that repeats in the unending cycle of creation and destruction in Hindu thought. He reclines on the giant serpent Shesha, floating on the primeval waters, with his wife Lakshmi at his feet. From his navel there rises a lotus stalk crowned by a flower, from which Brahma, the god associated with creation, will appear and re-create the universe. The purity of the lotus flower as a fitting vehicle for the birth of a god is a theme found elsewhere in Hinduism and Buddhism. This painting may have been made for the enjoyment of a local ruler and was probably the work of local artists.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Painted in opaque watercolour on paper
Brief Description
Painting, Vishnu and Lakshmi on the great snake, opaque watercolour on paper, Pahari, Kangra, ca. 1870
Physical Description
Painting, in opaque watercolour on paper, depicting Vishnu and Lakshmi on the great snake.
Dimensions
  • Height: 175mm
  • Width: 239mm
  • Image within innermost painted borders height: 126mm
  • Image within innermost painted borders width: 191mm
Content description
Vishnu and Lakshmi on the great snake.
Styles
Credit line
P. C. Manuk and Miss G. M. Coles Bequest through Art Fund
Subjects depicted
Summary
The Hindu god Vishnu is shown in this painting in the form he takes between the destruction of one universe and the creation of the next, an episode that repeats in the unending cycle of creation and destruction in Hindu thought. He reclines on the giant serpent Shesha, floating on the primeval waters, with his wife Lakshmi at his feet. From his navel there rises a lotus stalk crowned by a flower, from which Brahma, the god associated with creation, will appear and re-create the universe. The purity of the lotus flower as a fitting vehicle for the birth of a god is a theme found elsewhere in Hinduism and Buddhism. This painting may have been made for the enjoyment of a local ruler and was probably the work of local artists.
Bibliographic Reference
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: 0856670022p. 309, cat. no. 75.
Collection
Accession Number
IS.19-1949

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record createdOctober 29, 2002
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