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A bronze triad of Vishnu, Shridevi, and Bhudevi
A bronze triad of Vishnu, Shridevi, and Bhudevi


A bronze triad of Vishnu, Shridevi, and Bhudevi
South India, Vijayanagar period, 16th/17th century
Heavily cast with the four-armed Vishnu holding his attributes the conch and disk, with his legs crossed and principal hands in the gesture of playing a flute, wearing a short dhoti and pendent sashes, accompanied by his two wives, each individually cast holding a lotus bud and with one arm extended alongside in mirrored poses
18 in. (45.7 cm.), the highest
Private Collection, Switzerland
Private collection, New Jersey, acquired from Christies New York, 20 September 2006, lot 74

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Lot Essay

This unusual triad combines the iconography of Vishnu with his well-known avatar, Krishna, in the gesture of playing the flute. The female figures likewise can be viewed in two ways: Shridevi dressed with the breast-band then appears as Krishna's principal wife, Rukmini, while Bhudevi, the Earth goddess, evokes Satyabhama, Krishna's favorite. Images of a multi-armed Vishnu in the guise of Krishna are rare; for another example, eight-armed and lacking the wives, see P. Pal, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum: Vol. 1, Art from the Indian Subcontinent, 2003, pp. 261 and 275, cat. no. 199.

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