Mapin Publishing Pvt
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Religion & Culture
Vishnu-one of Hinduism's most important and powerful deities-is the great Preserver, vanquishing universe. For his followers he is also the Creator and the Destroyer, the cause of all existence. His many traits are embodied in his also the Creator and the Destroyer, the cause of all existence. His many traits are embodied in his impressive physical form, the weapons he carries, the goddesses physical form, the weapons he carries, the goddesses who are his consorts, and the eagle Garuda, on whom he flies down from heaven. In Hindu legend, Vishnu descends to earth in many manifestations, known as avatars, to fight powerful demons and to save his devotees. The avatars range in form from Varaha the boar to Parashurama the Brahmin warrior, and in character from Narasimha the ferocious half-man half-lion, to Krishna the charismatic prince-cowherd.
The legends of Vishnu have inspired some of the greatest art, literature, and ritual traditions in India. This catalogue examines the many faces of Vishnu and the ways that the god has been represented, from antiquity to the present.
Essays by noted historians of South Asian art delve deeply into the regional and sectarian traditions of Vishnu worship in India. Illustrations and discussions of almost 200 works of art, in a wide range of media and borrowed from collections across the North Atlantic, reveal the rich diversity of India's art and religious culture.
About the Author
Joan Cummins, the exhibition's curator and catalogue editor, is the Lisa and Bernard Selz Curator of Asian Art at the Brooklyn Museum. She is author of Indian Painting: From Cave Temples to the Colonical Period in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and a coauthor of Realms of Heroism: Indian Paintings at the Brooklyn Museum.
Doris Meth Srinivasan is a scholar of Indian art and history who has published extensively on Hindu iconography and early religions art. She was recently a visiting scholar at the Centre for Indian Studies, Stony Brook University.
Leslie Orr is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion at Concordia University, Montreal. She has published widely on religion and women in south India, including the book Donors, Devotees and Daughters of God: Temple Women in Medieval Tamilnadu.
Cynthia Packert is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Middlebury College. She has just published a book on The Art of Loving Krishna: Ornamentation and Devotion.
Neeraja Poddar is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art and Archaeology, Columbia University, New York City.