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VISHNU HOLDING A MACE AND LOTUS
VISHNU HOLDING A MACE AND LOTUS
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VISHNU HOLDING A MACE AND LOTUS

PROBABLY BILASPUR, PUNJAB HILLS, NORTH INDIA, CIRCA 1700-1720

Details
VISHNU HOLDING A MACE AND LOTUS
PROBABLY BILASPUR, PUNJAB HILLS, NORTH INDIA, CIRCA 1700-1720
Opaque pigments heightened with gold and silver on paper, a crowned deity holding a mace and a lotus, standing within a cusped arch, within thin black rules, with red borders, the reverse with numbered Mandi royal collection stamp
8 ½ x 6 ¼in. (21.6 x 16cm.)
Provenance
Mandi Royal Collection

Lot Essay

This painting is from a dispersed album which was once in the Mandi royal collection. Most of the paintings in the album are of Hindu deities, the Dasavatara (Ten Incarnations) of Vishnu, as well as ragamala subjects. The paintings are all skilfully executed with raised impasto used for the attributes held by the deities, their golden crowns and jewellery details. Dating from the early eighteenth century, almost all the known folios have large bold depictions of the deities, standing in profile facing left, occupying most of the pictorial space. They appear to be related to a well-known slightly earlier ragamala set, dating to circa 1690-1700, illustrated in a similar vertical format with identical borders, which has been attributed by scholars to Bilaspur or Chamba. For an illustration from this ragamala series, see the following lot, 139.

For another painting from the album depicting the monkey-god, ‘Hanuman’, see F. Galloway, Treasures from India, London, 2006, no. 49, p.130, ill. p.131. Other paintings from the album have sold recently at auction (see Christie’s South Kensington, 10 June 2013, lots 2-4). Lot 3 with an almost identical composition depicts the same figure as our painting standing under a similar cusped arch holding a bow and arrow, possibly Rama, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu. Also, see Sotheby’s, New York, 29 March 2006, lot 172, for a similarly illustrated figure as our painting carrying a bow and a manuscript.

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