Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Mask of Vaikuntha Vishnu

Date:
late 5th century
Culture:
India (Jammu and Kashmir, ancient kingdom of Kashmir)
Medium:
Bronze
Dimensions:
H. 13 1/4 in. (33.7 cm); W. 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm); D. 5 in. (12.7 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Donald and Polly Bruckmann, 2004
Accession Number:
2004.177
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 237
This early representation of Vishnu expresses the deity’s supreme manifestation, in which his two premier avatars, the boar Varaha and the man-lion Narasimha, are given expression in one form, the three-headed Para Vasudeva or Vaikuntha. Here, only the boar survives intact, framing the moustached and crowned Vishnu, who embodies an Indian vision of kingship. This remarkable bronze mask would have been secured to a wood frame, richly clothed, and garlanded to evoke the presence of Vishnu during temple festival parades, as is still seen today in the remoter regions of Himachal Pradesh in northern India.
Related Objects

Crowned and Jeweled Buddha

Date: 9th century Medium: Brass Accession: 1970.297 On view in:Gallery 237

Vaikuntha Vishnu

Date: last quarter of the 8th century Medium: Stone Accession: 1991.301 On view in:Gallery 237

Linga with Face of Shiva (Ekamukhalinga)

Date: 7th century Medium: Stone Accession: 1989.150 On view in:Gallery 237

Mask of Bhairava

Date: late 6th–7th century Medium: Copper alloy, possibly brass Accession: 2013.249 On view in:Gallery 237

Panel from a Portable Shrine: The Descent of the Buddha from Trayastrimsha Heaven

Date: 7th–8th century Medium: Ivory with traces of color Accession: 1979.287 On view in:Gallery 237