Encountering Vishnu: The Lion Avatar in Indian Temple Drama” is a new exhibition at the Met in New York which will run until June next. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is one of the world’s largest art museums. “Dramas presented during religious festivals in southern India are an important aspect of popular Hindu celebration. This exhibition highlights five rare wooden sculptural masks that represent a largely unrecorded category of late medieval Indian devotional art”, MET announcement says. Artifacts shown go as far back as 5th century.
Exhibits include sculptures of Narasimhas in sandstone and wood, Hiranyakashipu in wood, Prahalada in wood, Ganesha in wood, Vishnu in bronze, standing Vishnu in copper, Vishnu rescuing Gajendra in stone, Vishnu slaying Hiranyakashipu in stone, standing four-armed Vishnu in terracotta, Yoga Narasimha in copper alloy; besides Vaikuntha Vishnu mask in bronze. In addition, there are paintings of Narasimha, Bhima, Krishna, Putana, Rama-Sita-Lakshmana, Matsya Avatara, Balaskandha, Assembly of Rama, Vishnu-Garuda Wahan, Shri Sheshanarayana and Hiranyaksha.
Commending MET for Lord Vishnu exhibition, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that art had a long and rich tradition in Hinduism and ancient Sanskrit literature talked about religious paintings of deities on wood or cloth.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged other major art museums of the world, including Musee du Louvre and Musee d’Orsay of Paris, Los Angeles Getty Center, Uffizi Gallery of Florence (Italy), Tate Modern of London, Prado Museum of Madrid, National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, etc., to frequently organize Hindu art focused exhibitions, thus sharing the rich Hindu art heritage with the rest of the world.
Collections of MET, founded 1870 and whose mission includes “to connect people to creativity, knowledge, and ideas”; include over two million works of art spanning 5,000 years of world culture, from prehistory to the present and from every part of the globe. It has the largest assemblage of musical instruments outside Europe and its Costume Institute’s collection is over 35,000. It also undertakes traveling exhibitions, conservation, excavations, etc. Thomas P. Campbell, Daniel H. Weiss and Daniel Brodsky are Director, President and Trustees Chairman of the Museum respectively.