A very interesting (fragmented) sculpture showing us the Lord Vishnu sleeping on a couch made by the coils of the seven headed serpent Ananta, who’s hood forms a canopy over Vishnu’s head. In fact, this sculpture is nothing less than the symbolic representation of the cosmic balance between finity and infinity:
Vishnu is the protector and preserver of the universe; he has to return to the earth whenever needed to restore the balance of good and evil. When he is not active as preserver, Vishnu is said to sleep on a serpent (Ananta) in the cosmic ocean. When the moment came for the creation cycle to start gain, a lotus began to sprout from Vishnu’s navel (and this is precise the scene showed here in this relief!). The lotus flower opened and revealed Brahma, the god of creation, with his four faces (Brahma is also shown here, but damaged). Brahma will create then a new world (the one we live in now). One can see the four arms of Vishnu, one hand is supporting his head, the other three must have carried his symbols: the mace (here visible), the conch and the wheel (here damaged). The right foot of Vishnu is massaged by his spouse Lakshmi.
Although a fragment, we have the full caption of the complete scene!
Khmer Art, Angkor Period, 10th-12th century. Pale brown sandstone.
Height (with mount) 43 cm Width 22 cm Thickness 9,5 cm Weight 1,2 kilo.
Provenance: Private Belgian Collection
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