A FORM OF VISHNU
Vishnu manifested himself in twenty-four forms. These forms are identified by the order of the ayudhas (emblems) placed in his four hands. Here, Vishnu stands in Samapadasthanaka (straight) pose on a circular lotus resting on a pedestal. He holds a mace in the upper right hand, a disc in the upper left hand and a conch in the lower left hand. The lower right hand is in the varada, (boon-bestowing) mudra. By the positions of the different emblems held in his hands, this bronze can be identified as the Trivikrama form of Vishnu.
According to the story, Bali the king of the Asuras extended his authority over the three worlds inflicting an overall defeat on the gods. Vishnu assumed the form of Vamana (dwarf) and approaching Bali, asked him to give him as much space as could be measured by three of his footsteps. Bali agreed to this. Vishnu then enlarged himself to such a great size that he covered the two worlds with his two steps. Then he questioned Bali about the third step. Bali offered his head: Vishnu stepped on it and pushed him to Patal Loka (hell). Thereafter, Vishnu was known as Trivikrama.
Notice the three-pointed mukuta (crown), karna-kundalas (earrings), bajuband (armlets), Kada (bracelets), necklaces, yajnopavita (sacred thread), katisutra (girdle of the waist), and uru dama (thigh jewellery). The decorative vanamala (flower garland) hangs from the shoulders to the knees. Vishnu is flanked by Shridevi and Sarasvati.
We see Sarasvati as his consort only in Eastern Indian sculptures. Elsewhere Sarasvati is replaced by Bhudevi. Behind Vishnu’s head is a leaf-shaped halo. The Prabha (halo), has the usual flamboyant border surmounted with a circular chhatra (umbrella) at the top - a feature of Eastern Indian bronzes.
Gift from the Collection of Smt. Amaravati Gupta
11th century CE
32.9 x 14.6 x 7.2 cms.