Stele with a standing figure of Vishnu
From Bengal, eastern
Pala dynasty, 12th century AD
The Hindu preserver
He stands flanked by two attendants, who may be his consorts Bhu and Shri, on a double lotus. The stele has a triangular top unlike earlier examples which were usually in the shape of a gently lobed arch. On either side of his crown are celestial garland bearers and musicians, the Vidyadharas and Kinnaras. A kirtimukha, or auspicious face of glory is carved on the top centre of the arch.
The sculpture is typical of workmanship of the Pala dynasty of twelfth-century Bengal. The heart-shaped face with stylized arched eyebrows, long eyes that are slightly upturned at the ends, the broad nose, and the pursed smile are all characteristic.
T. R. Blurton, Hindu art (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)