Exhibitions/ Encountering Vishnu

Encountering Vishnu: The Lion Avatar in Indian Temple Drama

At The Met Fifth Avenue through
June 5
Exhibitions are free with Museum admission.

Exhibition Overview

Dramas presented during religious festivals in southern India are an important aspect of popular Hindu celebration. This exhibition highlights five rare wooden sculptural masks that represent a largely unrecorded category of late medieval Indian devotional art. The masks depict the protagonists in a deadly battle between Vishnu in his man-lion avatar, Narasimha, and an evil king whose destruction was essential for the restoration of order in the universe.

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The exhibition is made possible by The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation Fund.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 251

Exhibition Objects



Narasimha, Vishnu's Man-Lion Avatar, ca. 1700–1750. Southern India, Tamil Nadu, probably Thanjavur district. Wood with cloth and polychrome; H. (with stand) 47 1/2 in. (120.7 cm), W. 40 in. (101.6 cm ), D. 20 in. (50.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, The Vincent Astor Foundation and Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation Gifts, 2015 (2015.255.1a–f)