This finely rendered early Nepalese figure of Vasudeva-Kamalaja is the composite image of Vishnu (on the proper right) and Lakshmi (on the proper left). Examples of this iconographic composite are rare and technically challenging, requiring the artist to capture two deities in one cohesive form. Sophisticated casting, incorporating each deity's unique traits - such as the longer dhoti or the slightly longer hair beneath the crown on Lakshmi’s side - distinguishes one deity from the other.
This figure of Vasudeva-Kamalaja exemplifies the bold yet elegant corporeal sensibility of early Malla sculpture, achieved by a contrast between the powerful frontal stance and the soft rendering of a substantial yet languid physique. An example with similar stylistic traits is the Vishnu in the Heeramaneck Collection at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (M.72.1.8: see P. Pal, The Art of Nepal, California, 1984, p.110, fig.S31). The proportions of this Vishnu are similar, with thick, solid hips and thighs topped by a slightly tapered waist beneath broad shoulders. The treatment of the details, such as the simple armlets, earrings and flower pattern on the dhoti found in both figures also points to the early Malla period. The elegant rendering of features combined with the masterful illusion of a supple surface in the present example make it a classic example of Newari craftsmanship.