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Lot 71, Auction 2/1/2018: 17th C. Indian Pink Sandstone Fragment - Narasimha

South Asia, India, ca. 1600 CE. An impressive, hand carved pink sandstone high relief fragment depicting the Hindu deity Narasimha (meaning man-lion; also known as Narasingh, Narsingh, and Narasingha), one of the ten avatars of the Hindu god Vishnu, with six arms holding attributes in the top three hands and the bottom three shown killing the demon Hiranyakasipu. The Narasimha figure wears necklaces of varying lengths, armbands adorned with stylized visages on the front two arms, and bracelets on four arms. Narasimha is flanked by banded vertical pillars on both sides. According to Hindu mythology, the god Brahma told the demon Hiranyakashipu that he was invincible and could not be killed by either a human or animal, by day or night, and that no weapon could rival his powers. However, his son Prahlada was loyal to Vishnu, despite the fact that his father threatened his life because of this. One day, the demon Narasimha challenging Prahlada kicked a stone pillar and asked, "If your god is so omnipresent, does he exist in this pillar as well?" At this point, Vishnu emerged from the pillar in the form of the man-lion Narasimha and fiercely killed the demon. This momentous incident when the leonine faced, curly maned figure slayed the demon Hiranyakasipu, is dramatically depicted on this fabulous relief carving! Size: relief itself measures 16-1/2" x 13" x 3-1/2" (42 x 33 x 8.9 cm); on stand measures 18" x 17" x 5" (45.7 x 43.2 x 12.7 cm)

Condition: A large fragment from an even larger relief with surface wear and losses to face, hands, right pillar, and other protruding elements as shown.

Provenance: private Loveland, Colorado, USA collection.

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