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Sculptures > Wood > Vishnu - The Cosmic Axis
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Vishnu - The Cosmic Axis

Vishnu - The Cosmic Axis

Vishnu - The Cosmic Axis

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South Indian Temple Wood Carving

5.0 ft x 1.8 ft x 0.5 ft
36.2 kg
Item Code:
EG04
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$1325.00   Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
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Viewed 7165 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
The sumptuously bejewelled Vishnu wears a towering crown known in iconographical texts as the 'Kiritamukuta.' This is literally and metaphorically the highest of all crowns. The shape is that of a rather conical cylinder, similar to a mitre, ending in a knot or point. When worn by a deity, this signifies that he has a rank among the highest of all gods. An elaborate solar halo frames his head. At the apex of the sculpture can be seen the protective mask of glory (kirtimukha).

The sculptor's exceptional mastery over the human anatomy is reflected in the well-defined facial features with a pointed chin and thick, semi-open sensuous lips. Large kundalas (earrings) dangle to his shoulders, while both chokers and long necklaces adorn his robust chest. Indeed, Vishnu has a strong muscular body, which stands erect like a column on a blooming lotus pedestal made of two layers of petals. A short ornamented dhoti with sashes and girdles ends at his thighs while numerous tassels hold this garment together at his waist. The sinuous robes and jewels act as a foil to his rigid stance.

Vishnu typically has four hands which express his dominion over the four directions of space. The two right arms hold the chakra (boomerang like solar weapon) and lotus (symbolizing auspiciousness). The upper left hand supports a conch (signifying the primordial creative voice), while the lower rests on an upturned mace which is said to have been crafted out of the bones of a demon Vishnu had annihilated in battle.

According to the Shilpa Shastra (an ancient text on Indian iconography), the image of Vishnu is of three types:

1). Sthanaka the standing pose

2). Asana the sitting pose, and

3). Sayana the reclining pose.

Here he is obviously represented in the first form, which symbolizes that Vishnu is the cosmic axis or tree of life, standing straight as a post, connecting the earth to the heavens above. To his devotees, this formal, hieratic representation of Vishnu - their refuge and protector - standing like a mighty pillar, is a deeply comforting sight.

This sculpture was created by Shri Sengottuvel of Salem (Tamil Nadu), using Vengai wood.


Delivered by to all international destinations within 3 to 5 days, fully insured.

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