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Lintel with Gajalakshmi and Other Hindu Deities, late 10th century

India: Madhya Pradesh, 950-1000
16-1/4 x 65-3/4 x 8-1/4 in. (41.3 x 167.0 x 21.0 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation, from the Estate of Jennifer Jones Simon
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

The central figure on this lintel is Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and Vishnu’s consort. She is being bathed by two elephants (gaja), symbolizing the rains pouring from the heavens to fertilize the earth. Lakshmi is flanked on her far right by her husband, Vishnu, wearing a tall crown, and Skanda, the god of war, seated on a peacock to her immediate right. On her left, Lakshmi is accompanied by Shiva, identified by his dreadlocks and trident, and Ganesh, the elephant-headed god.

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