Vishnu as Krishna and Kalkin
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink drawing of Vishnu as Krishna and Kalkin, 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. Krishna is one of the most popular of the Hindu deities. Many aspects of his personality are revered, one of which is for his role as divine teacher who revealed the teachings of the Bhaghavad Gita to Arjuna and appearead to him as the Supreme Lord of the universe. Kalki, the white horse, is the tenth and final incarnation of Vishnu, the one who is still to come. He is expected to arrive at the end of the Kali Yuga, the present time-cycle, at which point the sequence of time-cycles will begin again, with the restoration of purity and universal order.