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Statuette of Vishnu from Nepal

In Hinduism, Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, is the second of a triad of gods, the first being Brahma, the creator, and the third, Shiva, the destroyer. This rare and finely detailed Nepalese statuette represents Vishnu in the most typical way, with four arms, holding respectively the conch shell on which was blown the primordial sound; the flaming-wheel of life and death; the lotus seed of creation; and the mace that destroys illusions. His softly rounded physique and broad, serene face indicate that the statue was made between the twelfth century and the fourteenth. The figure is solid-cast, and originally had an aureole attached to its back between the shoulder blades. A tang under each foot was inserted into a base. The god may have been accompanied by separate casts of his consort Lakshmi, and an anthropomorphized form of Garuda, his mythical avian mount.