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Fragment of a door jamb with three incarnations of Vishnu: Varaha, Vamana, and Rama
Place of Origin: Northern India
Date: 900-1100
Materials: Limestone
Dimensions: H. 20 in x W. 8 in x D. 3 1/4 in, H. 50.8 cm x W. 20.3 cm x D. 8.3 cm
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Sculpture
Object Number: B61S31+
On Display: No

Description

Label:

This architectural fragment features three of Vishnu's ten principal incarnations, the earthly manifestations across different ages whose purpose is human salvation. In his third incarnation, Vishnu took the form of a boar, Varaha, to combat a demon who had carried the Earth to the bottom of the cosmic ocean. The battle lasted for a thousand years, with Varaha finally vanquishing the demon and carrying the Earth out of the ocean with his tusks, restoring its place in the universe.

Vamana is the fifth incarnation of Vishnu and appears as a short-statured human. Vishnu appeared as Vamana to restore the authority of Indra, king of the gods, over the heavens, when his power had been threatened by an arrogant king. Vamana requested three steps of land to inhabit, but grew to such dimensions that his stride crossed from heaven to earth and from earth to the lower worlds in two steps. Unable to fulfill his promise of three steps of land, the king offered his head as the third. Vamana placed his foot on the king's head and granted him immortality for his benevolent gesture.

Rama is the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, and his life is chronicled in The Ramayana, one of the great epics of Indian literature. Prince Rama's life and journey, full of harsh tests, allow the him to exhibit great courage, compassion, and perfect adherence to dharma.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Hindu Deities", San Francisco International Airport, United Terminal, August 10, 2012 - March 4, 2013
Label:

This architectural fragment features three of Vishnu's ten principal incarnations, the earthly manifestations across different ages whose purpose is human salvation. In his third incarnation, Vishnu took the form of a boar, Varaha, to combat a demon who had carried the Earth to the bottom of the cosmic ocean. The battle lasted for a thousand years, with Varaha finally vanquishing the demon and carrying the Earth out of the ocean with his tusks, restoring its place in the universe.

Vamana is the fifth incarnation of Vishnu and appears as a short-statured human. Vishnu appeared as Vamana to restore the authority of Indra, king of the gods, over the heavens, when his power had been threatened by an arrogant king. Vamana requested three steps of land to inhabit, but grew to such dimensions that his stride crossed from heaven to earth and from earth to the lower worlds in two steps. Unable to fulfill his promise of three steps of land, the king offered his head as the third. Vamana placed his foot on the king's head and granted him immortality for his benevolent gesture.

Rama is the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, and his life is chronicled in The Ramayana, one of the great epics of Indian literature. Prince Rama's life and journey, full of harsh tests, allow the him to exhibit great courage, compassion, and perfect adherence to dharma.


Exhibition History: "Hindu Deities", San Francisco International Airport, United Terminal, August 10, 2012 - March 4, 2013