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Vishnu as Varaha (the boar) and as Narasimha (the Man-Lion)

Vishnu as Varaha (the boar) and as Narasimha (the Man-Lion)

Artist: Anonymous

Date: 1801

Shelfmark: WD1063

Item number: f.30

Length: 37.1

Width: 24.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Pen and ink drawing of Varaha (the boar) and as Narasimha (the Man-Lion), from an 'Album of 51 drawings (57 folios) of buildings, sculpture and paintings in the temple and choultry of Tirumala Nayyak at Madura. c.1801-05', by an anonymous artist working in the South India/Madurai style, c. 1801-1805. Each picture is inscribed with a title and a number in ink.

This drawing is of a carving that can be found in the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple of Madurai, the sacred complex built under the patronage of the Nayaka ruler Tirumala in the 17th century. Within the large enclosure are two temples dedicated to Shiva as Sundareshvara with his consort Minakshi, and several mandapas (halls) with elaborately sculpted columns of the gods from the Hindu pantheon. Varaha the boar is the third incarnation of Vishnu and is remembered for when he rescued the earth (in the form of the goddess Bhu) from the bottom of the ocean, where she was imprisoned by a demon. In this drawing Varaha is represented with a human body and a boar's head. Narasimha the Man-Lion is the fourth incarnation that Vishnu undertook to end the reign of Hiranyakashipu, an evil unbelieving king. Narasimha is often depicted as he vanquishes the king and is seen tearing out the kings entrails.

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