Bronze as a medium of sculpture is the heritage of the South. Amongst brass and stone and organic media like wood, bronze stands out as an elite medium to work with. While it was a thing with local sculptors since the Pallava dynasty was in power, it gained prominence under the patronage of the art-loving Chola dynasty rulers around five centuries later. As such, the work of art that you see on this page draws from centuries of a deeply devotional (shivam) and aesthetic (sundaram) tradition.
The handsome Lord Vishnu stands on the extended pistil of a compact lotus bloom. He is tall and built in the finest proportions of purushatva (masculine being). He is at the very centre of the creative-projective Hindu trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva, and His glory has been captured by the artisan in a superb aesthetic. There is something about the undulations of His musculature, in the ratio of His limbs, and in that composure of countenance that inspires the onlooker with a sense of dharma and harmony.
There is a skilfully sculpted dhoti around His legs. The adornments and the implements in His four hands (He is chaturbhujadhari) are minimal, yet carved with a great deal of detail. These add to the aura of Lord Vishnu. So does the inimitable colour of bronze, a deep matte gold with green overtones. The composition described so far is poised on an elegantly sculpted plinth characterised by three tiers.
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