Bronze Trio of Vishnu, Sri Devi & Bhu Devi
height of Vishnu (without stand): 20.5cm; height with stand: 27cm; width of stand: 25cm
Rarely these days are genuinely old, complete and matched sets of Vishnu and his two consorts, Bhu Devi and Sri Devi, found. Over time, the members of the trio tended to have become separated. The impressive threesome here has stayed together because early last century, the three were screwed through their bases to a wooden tiered stand – a stand that judging by its shape and patina, is either late Victorian or early Edwardian.
Vishnu stands at the centre with the wheel (
chakra) in his upper right hand and a conch (shankha) in his upper left hand. The lower left hand is in the katyavalambita gesture, and the right has the varada gesture.
Sri Devi is shown in her usual position on the right of Vishnu. She holds in her left hand a lotus stem with the lotus flower open, and has a horizontal breast band (
kucha-bandha). These are her identifying attributes.
Bhu Devi stands on Vishnu’s left. She holds in her right hand a lotus stem with the bud still closed, and she does not wear a breast band – these two attributes being identifying attributes allowing the image’s differentiation from Sri Devi.
Each member of the trip has a particularly tall headdress, a sacred thread across the chest and ample jewellery.
Originally, the set would have adorned a household altar of a relatively wealthy Hindu household. The woman of the house would have tended the images each day, cleaning them and providing them with offerings.
The set is in a fine condition – all the attributes and arms are present. Most importantly, the three are a matched set. As mentioned, rarely now are true, complete sets located. Both Bhu Devi and Sri Devi have some casting-related pitting to their surfaces. The square plate on which the round platform on which Sri Devi stands is missing two corners. The platform plates of all three have been screwed to the wooden stand. The three have a fine patina and ample wear from
puja (prayer) usage.
Mitchell, A.G., Hindu Gods and Goddesses, UBSPD, 1982.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 2034