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Stele with Vishnu and Other Hindu Deities, c. 1100

India: Uttar Pradesh, 1075-1125
Sandstone with indigo pigments
36 x 26 in. (91.4 x 66.0 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1975.11.11.S
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

This remarkable stele is dedicated to the great Hindu god Vishnu, the preserver and protector of the universe. He stands in the frontal samapada posture, holding four of his primary attributes: a large club and a solar disc or wheel in his upper hands and a rosary and conch shell in his lower hands. These symbolic emblems and weapons indicate his divine status, his association with the sun and earth and his supreme knowledge and power. He is surrounded by many of his other avatars, such as Narasimha the man-lion, located to the right of the conch, and Varaha the boar, to the left of the club. Other gods and goddesses are also represented, such as Brahma and Shiva with their spouses in the upper corners, and the nine planetary deities at the top of the arch. The blue paint is most likely modern.


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