Lord Vishnu as a young Brahmin, or vatu. Bali, Prahalad’s grandson, although good and virtuous, has all the worlds in existence, and so the devas are in subjugation to him. Lord Vishnu takes it upon himself to restore the old order. As the Brahmin lad, he asks Bali for land, as much as he can cover in three strides.
Bali agrees and the lad immediately turns into a giant whose first stride spans the earth and whose second encompasses the entire heavens including the Brahmaloka, the loftiest plane of existence. Bali removes his crown and asks the boy to place his third stride onto his head, which will restore power to the devas in the old order. This Vishnu avatar is also called Trivikrama. This lithograph’s painting exemplar was the subject of Lot 43 in Bowring’s auction on 20th November 2002.
S. K. Ramachandra Rao Pratima Kosha vol. 6 pg.105