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An image of Vishnu reclining on the serpent Ananta (Vishnu Anantasesha) by

Orissa, India

Vishnu reclining on the serpent Ananta (Vishnu Anantasesha)
Place of origin
13th century
Media category
Materials used

23.5 x 30.5 x 7.0 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Dr and Mrs B.N. Beirman 1990
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

This sculpture visualising the primordial scene of creation depicts Vishnu, the preserver of the world, reclining on the multi-headed serpent Ananta, representing endlessness or eternity. Vishnu holds his weapons, the conch and wheel (cakra) and the creator god, Brahma issues from a lotus which springs from his navel. The reclining Vishnu is attended by numerous gods including his consort Lakshmi, seated at his feet.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, April 2002

Bibliography (3)

Ramesh Shankar Gupte, Iconography of the Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains, Mumbai, 1972.

K.V. Soundarajan, Artibus Asiae [vol. 29, no. 1], 'The typology of the Anantasayi icon', pp.67-84, United States of America, 1967, 67-84.

Heinrich Zimmer and Joseph Campbell, The art of Indian Asia: its mythology and transformations, New Jersey, 1960.

Exhibition history (1)

East of India - forgotten trade with Australia, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney, 01 Jun 2013–18 Aug 2013