Bronze inlaid with silver
North India, Kashmir
Height 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm.)
For another version of a Garudasana Vishnu bronze from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum Collection, Mumbai, see P. Pal, Bronzes of Kashmir, New Delhi, 1975, p. 67, no. 9.
Vishnu in his four-armed form is seated astride his mount Garuda. He holds his characteristic attributes of the mace and disc in his upper two hands, and a conch and lotus in his lower hands. He is richly adorned with a tri-form foliate crown and long pendant earrings, his head encircled by a nimbus. Garuda also in a rare four-armed form crouches beneath Vishnu and supports his feet with two outstretched hands, whilst holding a water pot in his other two. Garudas eyes are inlaid with silver in the Kashmiri style. His feathers are spread out like leaves behind him, and perched on four of these feathers are four females, each of whom appears to carry a flywhisk. Garuda stands on a lotus, above a stepped pedestal with a small characteristic libation spout to one side.
For a similar pedestal on a Bhairavi bronze from the 10th century, see Ulrich von Schroeder, Indo Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1981, p. 149, no 26b. Also see, P. Pal, Bronzes of Kashmir, New Delhi, 1975, p. 67, no. 9.
In the Garudasana Vishnu from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum, Vishnu is represented with four heads and Pal suggests that the four female figures that surround him obviously represent the wives of the god and are possibly personifications of his four attributes. But, he notes, it is most unusual however to find four such spouses represented in Vishnu images. (P. Pal, Bronzes of Kashmir, New Delhi, 1975, p. 67) It is possible that the four females surrounding Vishnu in the current bronze may be indentified in a similar manner, or alternatively they may merely represent attendant chauri bearers.