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Rama, an Avatar of Vishnu

c. 11th century
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
Himachal Pradesh ("mountain state") is in large part covered by the foothills of the Himalayas and its art shares much with the neighboring Himalayan regions such as Kashmir. This relief depicts Rama, one of the ten earthly incarnations adopted by the powerful god Vishnu to protect the world from chaos and evil. Rama's halo and crown reflect his dual status as royalty and divinity. As prince, he is shown poised to shoot an arrow, evoking his best known role as fearless warrior and the hero of the Ramayana epic. As god, he is offered lotus buds by celestial figures and the prayers of a male and female devotee kneeling below, possibly his brother Lakshmana and wife Sita.

Object Details

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