This beautiful vintage shrine print is of the well known Hindu God, Vishnu. Vishnu is the second god in the Hindu triumvirate (or Trimurti). The triumvirate consists of three gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep and destruction of the world. The other two gods are Brahma and Shiva. His role is to return to the earth in troubled times and restore the balance of good and evil. So far, he has been incarnated nine times, but Hindus believe that he will be reincarnated one last time close to the end of this world. Vishnu's worshippers, usually called Vaishnava, consider him the greatest god. They regard the other gods as lesser or demi gods.
Vishnu is represented with a human body, often with blue coloured skin and with four arms. His hands always carry four objects in them, representing the things he is responsible for. The objects symbolise many more meanings than are presented here:
The conch: the sound this produces 'Om', represents the primeval sound of creation
The chakra, or discus: symbolises the mind
The lotus flower: an example of glorious existence and liberation
The mace: represents mental and physical strength
Vishnu has appeared in various incarnations nine times on this earth, with the tenth predicted. This print depicts this.
1) Matsya (fish)
2) Kurma (turtle)
3) Varaha (pig/boar)
4) Narasimha (half lion, half man)
5) Vamana (dwarf sage with the ability to grow)
6) Parasurama (fierce man/hunter)
7) Rama (greatest warrior/ideal man)
8) Krishna (mentally advanced man)
9) Buddha (the all knowing one)
10) Kalki (Expected towards the end of this present age of decline, as a person on earth, seated on a white horse.)
Size: 14.5" x 10"
It is important to understand that these are not just images of Gods; they are Gods - Gods incarnate in their printed image. During puja (worship) the Gods are invited to descend into their images and are treated as guests. Offerings of fruit, flowers, and sweets are placed before these prints, prayers chanted to them, incense burned before them, and garlands of marigolds are hung around their frames.
This print has gone through many monsoons (with months of humidity), so it may have some staining and discoloration, along with some chips in the frame, that come with daily use and age.
In the period following independence in 1947 in India, the religious print business in India grew dramatically in its scale and diversity. All the prints I import from India are from this era and are a lot more colorful and bold in comparison to the very early prints in the late 1800's.
*Price includes free postage to anywhere in the UK.*
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