Sculpture of Narasimha with consort at Vijayawada. 21-24 August 1815
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink drawing of a sculpture of Narasimha with his consort, from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, by an anonymous artist, part of the MacKenzie Collection and from an album of 37 drawings (43 folios) of sculpture at Jajpur, Puri, Bezwada and Sitanagar made during a journey from Bengal through Orissa to the Coromandel Coast, dated 21-24 August 1815.
Vijayawada, formerly known as Bezwada, was an important centre from the 5th-6th centuries and its strategic position along the coastal trading routes of the Bay of Bengal determined its economic importance through the centuries. The town is surrounded by picturesque hills and the river Krishna flows nearby. There are a number of important Hindu and Jain temples in the town, and two Hindu cave temples are located 8 km away in Undavalil. This drawing depicts a sculpture of Narasimha, the Man-Lion incarnation of Vishnu. The god appeared in this form to kill the tyrant demon Hiranyakashipu. Narasimha is depicted sitting with his consort, holding a conch and a lotus in two of his four hands. Two other figures flank Narasimha, one seated cross-legged and one standing with a garland of human skulls hanging from the waist. The arch above Narasimha is carved with images of other incarnations of Vishnu.