Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Vishnu the Preserver

I admire religious / spiritual art mainly because of its symbolic nature. I particularly like Hindu images and Indian miniature painting because of their rich color and naive use of perspective. So after I read this bit (well some of it) on Wikipedia about Vishnu while brainstorming for an animation I started this drawing of Vishnu which is sort of my own version of him. So here are a few fascinating bits about Vishnu's iconographic representation (there are a lot of different interpretations of these elements so if you are interested in learning about them it's best if you do your own research rather than take my writing for granted): 

His skin is 'like water filled clouds' and he has four arms which symbolise the four aims of life: pleasure, success, righteousness and liberation. In his hands he is holding a Sudarshana chakra (upper left hand) which represents the will to multiply and also that he is the protector of the heavens. He is also holding a shell (Sancha) symbolising prosperity and a trident  which is a sign of asceticism. Vishnu is standing on a pink lotus in bloom because according to esoteric Buddhism the heart of a being is like an unopened lotus and when the virtues of the Buddha develop the lotus blossoms. The pink lotus is also a symbol of the highest deities. There are countless names and representations of Vishnu and the list of characteristics and symbols is endless so I will probably draw him again in the future!

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