We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

🛈 In line with NSW Health advice, the Art Gallery is temporarily closed to the public. Stay updated on our social media.

Title

Varaha rescuing the Earth Goddess, Bhudevi

10th century-11th century

Artists

Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Orissa India
    Date
    10th century-11th century
    Media category
    Sculpture
    Materials used
    stone
    Dimensions
    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.

    Credit
    Bequest of Alex Biancardi 2000
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    25.2000
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Share
  • About

    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