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Lintel with Reclining Vishnu and Retinue, 11th century

Cambodia, 1000-1099
Sandstone
18 x 57 x 8-1/2 in. (45.7 x 144.8 x 21.6 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1975.15.2.S
© 2012 Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

This lintel, which was once above a doorway leading into a Khmer Hindu temple, is carved with a scene depicting the creation of the universe. In this type of imagery, called Anantasayin, Vishnu reclines on the cosmic serpent Ananta during the separation of two cosmic time periods. During this interlude of dissolution, Brahma, the creator god, emerges from Vishnu’s navel. An outline of Brahma and his iconic four heads can still be seen on the lintel.


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