The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of December 6, 2016

Yoga Narashimha, Vishnu in his Man-Lion Avatar, c. 1250

bronze, Overall: 57.00 x 31.00 x 23.00 cm (22 7/16 x 12 3/16 x 9 inches); Base: 18.80 x 32.00 x 22.50 cm (7 3/8 x 12 9/16 x 8 13/16 inches). Gift of Dr. Norman Zaworski 1973.187

Narasimha means “man-lion” in Sanskrit, and is the name of one of the ten main avatars, or incarnations, of the Hindu god Vishnu. For devotees, the man-lion form recalls a myth that describes his superhuman defeat of a seemingly invincible demonic foe. This rare iconic form also embodies royal power and yogic discipline. The intensity of his concentration is apparent in the expression of his face over the ruff of mane, the taut posture, symmetry, and perfect proportions of his four-armed body. The yoga band holds the crossed legs up in equilibrium. In his upper right hand he holds the flaming discus that, when thrown, cuts through ignorance and its demonic personifications.

Sackler Gallery (11/102002 - 3/9/2003); Dallas Museum of Art (4/4/2003 - 6/15/2003); and CMA (7/4/2003 - 9/14/2003): "The Sensous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India", exh. cat. no. 45, p. 187, [1-2, 170 & 186-187].
The Royal Academy of Arts, London (11/11/2006 - 2/25/2007): "Chola: Sacred Bronzes of Southern India", ex. cat. no. 22, p. 120-123.
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (10/19/2013 - 1/26/2014); Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, CA (2/21/2014 - 5/25/2014); and The Cleveland Museum of Art (6/22/2014 - 9/7/2014): "Yoga: The Art of Transformation", cat. no. 8A, p. 141.

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