Sandstone stele depicting Matsya
From central India, 9th century AD
The first incarnation of Vishnu
The Hindu god
Matsya is regarded as the first incarnation of Vishnu. In the great all-consuming flood Vishnu took the form of a fish (Matsya) to save the primeval man and the sacred Vedas. In this carved relief, Matsya carries on his back a shrine which he has saved from the waters. The stele would originally have come from a niche in a Hindu temple in Central India dating to the ninth or tenth century.
Asia OA 1872.7-1.50