This etching depicts a vast and lively gathering of figures around a large banquet table in the foreground accompanied by other crowds of figures throughout the composition. The scene takes place in an outdoor setting surrounded by classical architecture that recedes perspectivally in the distance.
Saints below surrounding a stone pedestal with the inscription "Non est hic. Mat 28", with the Virgin Mary above in the clouds with arms spread out surrounded by smaller angels. At the bottom edge of the print is engraved (left) "Callot fecit" and (center right) "Israel ex. cum priuil. Reg.".
The Assumption of the Virgin Mary signifies the taking up of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, into heaven.
Shiva sits with his consort on a double lotus pedestal. He has six arms, his right three are in varada mudra [a giving gesture], holds a rosary and an arrow. His left arms cup his consorts left breast and hold a lotus flower and a bow. He sits in royal ease, with one leg pendant. He wears bracelets, armlets, necklaces, earrings, and a sacred thread that stretches form his left shoulder down past his waist. On his head he wears an elaborate jatamukuta, a crown interlaced with his matted locks. Parvati sits upon his knee with one leg tucked under her and the other pendant. She is also adorned with jewelry, but wears a more modest diadem at the front of her head.
To complement Shiva’s character as an ascetic, he is also a husband and lover. His consort is known by various names, in this case as Parvati, the daughter of the Himalaya. Both the Pala dynasty in the northeast and the Cola dynasty in the south developed sophisticated traditions of bronze sculpture featuring this ideal couple. In this small but exquisite bronze from the northeast, the artist depicts Shiva and Parvati in animated and intimate conversation.
A portable painting, with gouache pigments on sized cotton, bordered by three strips of Chinese brocade. The painting is designed to be rolled up when not in use.
This painting is a diagrammatic representation of the transmission of teachings within the Gelugpa School of Tibetan Buddhism. Tsongkhapa (1357 - 1419), the founder of the school, wearing the Gelugpa yellow hat and flanked by two lotus blossoms, is seated at the heart of a vast array of figures. Below him, forming the mountain on which he sits, are row upon row of the meditational deities revered by the school, including Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and deified lamas (teachers), as well as the fierce ‘dharmapala’ deities (protectors of the faith). At the side, seated in large numbers on billowing clouds, are teachers in the Gelugpa lineage. The ascetic figures at the top center, above Tsongkhapa, represent famous Indian mahasiddas, yogis who have mastered tantric teachings.
There are many variants of such lineage diagrams among the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. They type is known by many names, including “Assembly Tree,” “Merit Field,” “Refuge Field,” or “Field of Accumulation”; in Tibetan, the generic term is “tsog shing.”
Shiva as Bhairava stands against a plain pointed arch supported by pilasters with a kirtimukha or face of glory at the top. He stands in a trihanga pose, with his hip thrust to his right and wears platform sandals. He originally has four arms, the front two of which are broken away. His back two arms hold a decorated trident and a drum. He would have held a sword in one hand and a kapala, a cup made out of a scull and a hanging severed head in the other. He is naked, but wears much of jewelry including belts with pendant elements, anklets, armlets, bracelets, necklaces, a band just under his breasts and large circular earrings. He also wears a decorated sacred thread over his left shoulder. His has an elaborate coiffure in curls around the top of his head with a large topknot to one side. His face is badly damaged. Emaciated hungry ghosts attend him, the one to his right dancing with his hands raised above his head with a pot between his legs. The ghost who is on his left stands behind a dog, whose head has broken away. The ghost and the dog would have been playing with the absent severed head, adding to the ghoulish nature of the image.
Bhairava, or “the Terrible,” is an epithet for Shiva in his fiercer manifestations. One of these is Lord of the Cremation Grounds, a setting indicated here by the small, emaciated demons at his feet. In his rear arms he holds a trident—his signature weapon—and a small drum. His two front hands have broken off, but as in other icons of this type, they would have originally carried a sword and a cup made from a human skull. This particular image adds a further element: it depicts the immediate aftermath of Shiva’s great sin of decapitating Brahma, another of the major Hindu gods. In his left hand he holds the ends of Brahma’s long hair, but Brahma’s head—which was carved completely in the round—has broken away. Below, a dog leaps up to lick the blood dripping from the severed head. Shiva was condemned to wander for twelve years as a naked ascetic in expiation for this horrible crime. Although the image has suffered from wear, the special character of the Hoysala period style comes through in the humor and naturalism of the skeletal figures, and the relaxed yet elegant pose of Shiva himself.
Vishnu stand in a strict unbending pose, samabhanga and has four hands. Reading clockwise from the front right hand, he holds lotus, a club, a discus and a conch. The lotus and conch are also personified with full standing figures at the base below his tow front hands, the lotus as a female figure to his right and the conch as a male figure to his left. On the pointed arch behind the figure a flying figure holding garlands is carved in shallow relief to either side of his crown. He wears a diaphanous lower cloth, the folds of the garment are articulated with a flared section down the center. He wears a long garland down to his knees, a sacred thread and various pieces of jewelry, including bracelets, armlets, a necklace and large earrings and an elaborate crown.
Buddhism flourished in northeast India under the Pala dynasty, but most of the Pala kings were followers of the Hindu god Vishnu, whose role as preserver and sustainer of the cosmos accorded well with ideals of royal duty. This impressive stele shows Vishnu in his form as universal king: he wears an elaborate crown and jewelry, and carries four weapons: the gada (a club or mace), the cakra (a discus), the shankha (a conch-like shell), and the padma (lotus).
At his feet appear two figures who are personifications of the two attributes (anthropomorphic representations of his signature weapons). The female is Padmadevi, a goddess who is the personification of the pure lotus, and the male is Shankapurusha, a personification of the trumpetlike shell.
The figure of Vishnu has an idealized youthful body, with broad shoulders and a narrow waist, and an expression of perfect serenity.
Vishnu is one of the principal gods of Hinduism, along with Shiva and the goddess, and commands a large following. He is often depicted with four arms and consistently carries four attributes: the discus, conch, club and lotus. Sometimes, as in this case, two of his attributes are personified at the base. Gender of the weapon reflects the gender of the personified figure.
Vishnu stands on a base consisting of a flat square element topped with a series of five round rings. He stands in an unbending pose and has four arms. Reading clockwise from his front right hand, he is in varada mudra, holds a discus, holds a conch, and is on his hip. He wears a decorated lower garment flared out on either side in a pattern. He wears a decorated belt and necklaces, a sacred thread and shoulder loops, bracelets and armlets, earrings and a crown. The jewelry and crown is highlighted with gold paint as is his clothing and the two attributes.
Vishnu is one of the principal gods of Hinduism, along with Shiva and the goddess, and commands a large following. He is often depicted with four arms and consistently carries four attributes: the discus, conch, club and lotus.
Three bronzes form a group: Vishnu 1978/2.123, Bhudevi 1978/2.132 and Shridevi 1978/2.131