Date Created: India, Candella Dynasty (10th-12th centuries)
Location: Madhya Pradesh, India
Physical Dimensions: w46.5 x h57 x d16.5 mm (work)
Label Copy: The body of Vishnu’s boar-headed incarnation, Varaha, forges a diagonal bolt through this sculpture. His right foot is planted decisively at the corner of its projecting base; his left is flexed for leverage on a lotus pedestal. Against these rooting forces his body surges upward, culminating in an acutely raised snout. The magnitude of Varaha’s gesture and his relative scale suggest a superhuman strength, and his feet are splayed apart in a position that defies human physiology. In Hindu image making, the remarkable form of a god’s body reveals his or her boundless capacities. In this case, Varaha’s distinct posture depicts a well-known Hindu episode in which Vishnu took the form of a great boar to rescue the world from a demon who had imprisoned the earth beneath the cosmic ocean.