Description Vamana is the dwarf form of the powerful god Vishnu, one of several of the god’s incarnations or avatars. He holds Vishnu’s club, discus, and conch shell, and with his empty hand makes the gesture of giving. As preserver of cosmic order, Vishnu descends to earth to restore balance whenever the world is threatened by evil. When King Bali was becoming too powerful, Vishnu came to earth as a dwarf and, dressed as a pious student of Hindu knowledge, asked the king for the amount of land he could cover in three steps. Thinking he had nothing to lose, the king granted the dwarf’s request, whereupon Vishnu transformed himself into the giant Trivikrama, covering the entire earth with his first step, the heavens with his second step, and with his third step pushing Bali into the netherworld.
- Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Nepal, and Tibet in the John and Berthe Ford Collection. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong. 2001-2003.
Provenance Jaipaul Gallery, Philadelphia; purchased by John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore, June 13 1976; given to Walters Art Museum, 2008.
Credit Gift of John and Berthe Ford, 2008
Download Image Add to Collection Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Creative Commons License