Solid cast copper alloy image of standing four-armed Viṣṇu set on a crude rectangular base. In his upper hands he holds his typical attributes - (his right) a winged disk (chakra) and (left) a winged conch shell (shankha). His lower hands are held in varadamudra (his right) and the attribute associated with the image of Viṣṇu at Tirupati (left hand held on or close to the left thigh). High brassy finish with evidence of wear.
- Found/Acquired: British Isles (probably)
- (Europe,British Isles)
- Height: 41 centimetres
- Width: 20 centimetres
The image is from South India, perhaps from southern Andhra Pradesh/northern Tamil Nadu, considering the link to Tirupati. In a letter to Douglas Barrett,dated February 20th 1974, Mr Leslie Cross says - ' I enclose a photograph of a statue of Vishnu which was rescued from a second-hand shop by an Indian friend of mine. This lady insisted that this particular Vishnu was from a Hindu temple and not a Birmingham reproduction. ..... The Director of the National Museum in New Delhi [this was Sivaramamurti - a letter from him is in the file], who has seen this photograph, "believes that the image is probably of 19th century [date] and depicts Venkateswara of Tirupati shorn of all the usual decorative adornment that encompasses his figure, even as the camphor mark 'namam' completely envelopes the fore-head, eye-brows and the root of the nose. He is also puzzled by the tremendous weight of the 15" high image."' Mr Barrett responded (February 22nd 1974) as follows - 'I agree entirely with the opinion of Dr Sivaramamurti .... your Vishnu image is certainly of 19th century date and comes from the northern part of Tamilnadu. I am not surprised that it is pretty heavy: all these images are solid cast.'
Given by the Executors of G. Leslie Cross (1906-1999) through Mr Roger Cross (one of the executors, and a nephew of Mr Cross senior); see exchange of correspondence between Mr Roger Cross (first letter, 25. 4. 2001) and Richard Blurton. Leslie Cross was in India during WWII and at first we wondered whether the image had been acquired there. However, the correspondence quoted above suggests that this was not the case and that it came to him in the UK. As a Quaker, he went to India with the Friends Ambulance Unit, though was then transferred to the Red Cross. Later in the War he was the Friends Service Committee 'go-between' on the Indian Conciliation Group. After India, Cross and his wife Kathleen served in a leper colony in Nigeria, and then at home continued work with the FSC eventually becoming its Chairman (further, see Minor Gifts file)
There is no image of this object, or there may be copyright restrictions
If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: email@example.com
Object reference number: RRI30841
British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.
The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.