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Sculptures > Hindu > Vishnu > Lord Vishnu: The Cosmic Commander
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Lord Vishnu: The Cosmic Commander

Lord Vishnu: The Cosmic Commander

Lord Vishnu: The Cosmic Commander -

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20.5 inch X 8.5 inch X 6.8 inch
6.7 kg
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ZDQ26
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$355.00
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Lord Vishnu: The Cosmic Commander

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This four-armed resplendent image of Vishnu, possessed of great majesty and divine aura, represents him in his manifestation as the Commander of the cosmos. Except a few ‘yogasana’ – seated, images such as the one that enshrines the world-wide revered Badarinatha shrine in the Himalayan state Uttarakhand, one of the four major shrines of Hinduism known as ‘Chatur-dhama’, Vaishnava iconography has visualised Lord Vishnu either as standing or as reclining over ‘Kshirasagara’ – the ocean of milk, on the coils of the great serpent Shesh. As the Rig-Veda perceives him and as the term ‘Vish’ means in Sanskrit, Vishnu is one who expands beyond the ‘known’ and even the ‘unknown’, that is, one who pervades the known and unknown spaces – the cosmos, and accordingly developed his iconography. When lying over the Kshirasagara and on the great serpent Shesh symbolising ‘the known’ and the ‘unknown’, he spans the cosmos with his body stretched over and beyond it, and when standing, by his strides. In one form he pervades the cosmos by his mere presence, and in the other, treads it across and beyond just by his feet.

Appropriately to Vishnu's form, he has been represented as carrying in three of the four hands his usual attributes disc, conch and mace, and assuring with the fourth, held in the gesture of ‘abhaya’, freedom from fear. This posture of assurance and readiness to act subdues the cosmos, good or evil, live or dead, known or unknown, divine or mortal, to his command. A kind of alertness on his face and meditative eyes reveal the cosmic commander’s concern for the world’s well-being and for maintaining cosmic order. As would befit a commander, especially the one with all cosmic regions under his command, he has been conceived with a robust build further magnified by a towering crown conceived with meaningful design, and with the timeless youth, unfading vigour and firmly laid feet.

The statue is one of the finest examples of India's centuries’ old tradition of metal-craft. It has same lustre, iconographic perfection, zeal for details, emphasis on embellishment, elegance and finish, emotional bearing, and commitment to scriptural traditions, as had the bronzes from medieval India, Chola, Chalukyan, or Pala. However, this statue reveals greater adherence to later Chola bronzes of the eighth-ninth centuries. This statue of the Great Lord gesticulates, and quite powerfully, an emotional bearing – a determined mind and a commander's formidability, as do these eighth-ninth centuries bronzes. This statue of Lord Vishnu is a contemporary work but adheres to technique and standards of metal cast of those golden days.

Lord Vishnu, both as the cosmic commander as well as reclining on the great serpent Shesh, has been the most preferred theme of Indian sculptors and metal casters of the period from fourth-fifth to fourteenth-fifteenth centuries. However, Vishnu in his standing posture, a form as cosmic commander, has been the more preferred image for the sanctum in Vaishnava temples, ancient and medieval, in North or in South. This form of Vishnu is essentially votive, though with its unique aesthetics it is as much a masterpiece of art.

The statue is magnificent in casting thread-like fine details. The figure of Vishnu is excellent in modeling, plasticity and ornaments. There enshrines a divine sentiment on the face of the figure. It has sharp features and balanced anatomy. As treatises have prescribed, the figure of Lord Vishnu has lotus eyes and a face with the glow of a thousand suns. The figure of the Great Lord has been elaborately adorned. Kundala – ear-ornaments, are more elaborate. So are the ornaments adorning breast, shoulders, arms, ankles and feet.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.

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