Vishnu : Hinduism's Blue-Skinned Savior

Edited by Joan Cummins, Mapin, 2011, 296 p, 236 Col. and B/W illus., ISBN : 9788189995485, $130.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Vishnu : Hinduism's Blue-Skinned Savior

Contents: 1. Foreword and Acknowledgements/Susan H. Edwards. 2. Multiplicity and grandeur: an introduction to Vishnu/Joan Cummins. 3. Becoming Vishnu/Doris Meth Srinivasan. 4. Vishnu’s manifestations in the Tamil country/Leslie C. Orr. 5. Networks of devotion: the art and practice of Vaishnavism in Western India/Cynthia Packert. 6. The image of Vishnu: i. Introduction. Ii. Attributes. Iii. The consorts of Vishnu and female forms of Vishnu. Iv. Garuda. V. Legends of Vishnu. 7. The Avatars of Vishnu: i. Introduction. Ii. The Matsya Aatar. Iii. The Kurma Avatar. Iv. The Varaha Avatar. V. The Narasimha Avatar. Vi. Vamana Avatar. Vii. The Parashurama Avatar. Viii. The Rama Avatar. Ix. Hanuman. X. Krishna as Avatar and God. Xi. The Balarama Avatar. Xii. The Buddha Avatar. Xiii. Kalki Avatar. Xiv. Multifaced Vishnu images. 8. The worship of Vishnu: Introduction. Suggested reading. Glossary. Index.

Vishnu-one of the Hinduism’s most important and powerful deities-is the great preserver, vanquishing those who seek to destroy the balance of the universe. For his followers he is also creator and the destroyer, the cause of all existence. His many traits are embodied in his impressive physical form, the weapons he carries, the Goddesses who are his consorts, and the eagle Garuda, on whom he flies down from heaven. In Hindu legend, Vishnu descends to earth in many manifestations, known as avatars, to fight powerful demons and to save his devotees. The avatars range in form from Varaha the boar to Parashurama the Brahmin warrior, and in character from Narasimha the ferocious half man half lion, to Krishna the charismatic prince-cowherd.

The legends of Vishnu have inspired some of the greatest art, literature, and ritual traditions in India. This catalogue examines the many faces of Vishnu and the ways that the God has been represented, from antiquity to the present.

Essays by noted historians of South Asian art delve deeply into the regional and sectarian traditions of Vishnu Worship in India. Illustrations and discussions of almost 200 works of art, in a wide range of media and borrowed from collections across the North Atlantic, reveal the rich diversity of India’s art and religious culture.

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