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Vishnu with Consorts
12th century


Pala-Sena dynasty

Black schist
H: 108.7 cm
India

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This stone stele features the Hindu god Vishnu, who may be recognized by his specific attributes. The mace and discus in his upper hands are his royal weapons, while the lotus and conch shell in his lower hands represent respectively purity and the watery origins of life. The crowned god stands surrounded by hovering celestial beings and flanked by Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, who carries a fly whisk, as well as Sarasvati, goddess of knowledge, who holds a musical instrument. Garuda, Vishnu's eagle vehicle, kneels to the left of the double-lotus base. This stone stele would once have occupied a niche in the outer walls of a temple dedicated to Vishnu.