According to the mythology, the Earth, depicted in the form of a goddess, was once dragged down and submerged by a titan or 'asura' named Hiranyaksha. At this time when the whole Earth was flooded, Varaha, the boar 'avatar' (incarnation), descended to rescue the Earth from the bottom of the ocean where she had become imprisoned.
In this stele Varaha stands in a heroic posture carrying the graceful goddess in his lower left hand. Varaha can be identified with the Hindu deity Vishnu by the weapons or emblems that he holds in his hands, including the mace, the 'chakra' (wheel or discus) and the conch shell. He is also attended by the personified versions of these emblems: the personified 'chakra' stands to Varaha's left and the personified conch, to his right. He is also accompanied by serpent deities, including the serpent Ananta and his consort who support the lotus pedestal on which his leg rests, as well as 'vidyadharas' or bearers of wisdom who bring garlands with which to decorate the heroic deity.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, February 2000
10th century-11th century
34.5 x 21.5 x 7.0 cm object, 41.5 x 23.7 x 8.4 cm object and stand
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Bequest of Alex Biancardi 2000
Not on display