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Title

Narasimha killing Hiranyakasipu

circa 1690-1700

Artist

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    India
    Cultural origin
    Basohli or Nurpur, India
    Date
    circa 1690-1700
    Media category
    Painting
    Materials used
    opaque pigments and gold on paper
    Dimensions
    17.0 x 18.0 cm image; 20.2 x 20.9 cm sheet
    Credit
    Peter and Pam Binnie Bequest, purchased 2020
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    127.2020
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    attrib. Devidasa

    Works in the collection

    1

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  • About

    Narasimha is the fourth avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. Here he is attacking the demon Hiranyakasipu. Their location between courtyard pillars is significant as the god Brahma promised Hiranyakasipu that he could not be killed by a human or animal, on earth or in the heavens, inside or outside. Hiranyakasipu swore revenge on Vishnu who, in his boar-headed form Varaha, had killed the demon’s brother Hiranyaksa. In order to defeat Hiranyakasipu, Vishnu took a half human, half lion form, laid the creature across his thighs and killed him with his claws on a threshold at twilight.

    The demon’s son Prahlada was a devotee of Vishnu and it was Prahlada’s prayers that called the god to conquer Hiranyakasipu. Prahlada appears beside Narasimha and his victim with his hands held together around a board inscribed with a prayer to Vishnu.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    India