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Appropriately to his form, he has been represented as carrying in three of the four hands his usual attributes disc, conch and mace, and assuring with the fourth, held in the gesture of ‘abhaya’, freedom from fear. This posture of assurance and readiness to act subdues the cosmos, good or evil, live or dead, known or unknown, divine or mortal, to his command. A kind of alertness on his face and meditative eyes reveal the cosmic commander’s concern for the world’s well-being and for maintaining cosmic order. As would befit a commander, especially the one with all cosmic regions under his command, he has been conceived with a robust build further magnified by a towering crown conceived with meaningful design, and with the timeless youth, unfading vigour and firmly laid feet.
The statue is one of the finest examples of India's centuries’ old tradition of metal-craft. It has same lustre, iconographic perfection, zeal for details, emphasis on embellishment, elegance and finish, emotional bearing, and commitment to scriptural traditions, as had the bronzes from medieval India, Chola, Chalukyan, or Pala. However, this statue reveals greater adherence to later Chola bronzes of the eighth-ninth centuries. This statue of the Great Lord gesticulates, and quite powerfully, an emotional bearing – a determined mind and a commander's formidability, as do these eighth-ninth centuries bronzes. This statue of Lord Vishnu is a contemporary work but it not only has an antique look but also adheres to technique and standards of metal cast of those golden days.
Lord Vishnu, both as the cosmic commander as well as reclining on the great serpent Shesh, has been the most preferred theme of Indian sculptors and metal casters of the period from fourth-fifth to fourteenth-fifteenth centuries. However, Vishnu in his standing posture, a form as cosmic commander, has been the more preferred image for the sanctum in Vaishnava temples, ancient and medieval, in North or in South. This form of Vishnu is essentially votive, though with its unique aesthetics it is as much a masterpiece of art.
The statue is magnificent in casting thread-like fine details. The figure of Vishnu is excellent in modeling, plasticity and ornaments. There enshrines a divine sentiment on the face of the figure. It has sharp features and balanced anatomy. As treatises have prescribed, the figure of Lord Vishnu has lotus eyes and a face with the glow of a thousand suns. The figure of the Great Lord has been elaborately adorned. Kundala – ear-ornaments, are more elaborate. So are the ornaments adorning breast, shoulders, arms, ankles and feet. A belt around the belly is quite curious and unusual, perhaps conceived for replacing ‘nagabandha; however, besides the gold-plaited ‘antariya’ – lower garment, the sash, unfurling from around the waist, is perhaps the most novel and delightful feature of the image.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.