Emory Univ: Sculpture illustrating concepts of time, creation, dissolution in Hinduism

11/6/2014 4:00 PM

Emory Univ: Sculpture illustrating concepts of time, creation, dissolution in Hinduism

The universe begins in the great cosmic sea. Time and time again, the universe is created and dissolved. After each period of destruction, the universe returns to the great cosmic sea, the sleeping potential of all that can be—empty but for the sweetly sleeping god, Vishnu. Enjoy afternoon chai as Anandi Salinas, graduate student in the Department of Religion, introduces an eleventh-century sandstone sculpture of Vishnu sleeping on the Cosmic Ocean and how this image, through its brilliant array of narratives, illustrates concepts of time and the endless cycle of creation and dissolution in Hinduism.

Date: Thursday, November 6, 2014
Time: 4 pm
Venue: Carlos Museum, Reception Hall, Level Three, Emory University, 571 South Kilgo Circle, Atlanta, GA 30322
Contact: 404-727-4282


Vishnu Sleeping on the Cosmic Ocean

Northern Madhya Pradesh, possibly Khajuraho. 11th century
Ester R. Portnow Collection of Asian Art, a Gift of the Nathan Rubin-Ida Ladd Family Foundation


Here, Vishnu sleeps in between the yugas, or cycles of time, on the cosmic ocean which lies outside space and time. His head is protected by the hood of Shesha, the cosmic serpent, and his feet are massaged by his consort Lakshmi. From his navel emerges Brahma, the creator God, seated on a lotus. His weapons, including the mace and the conch shell, lie relaxed in his hands. The waves beneath him are crowded by the creatures that were churned up when the cosmic ocean was created: the horse, the divine physician, and celestials playing musical instruments.

Built during the florescence of creativity of the Chandela rulers in a remote area of Madhya Pradesh, eleventh century Khajuraho sculpture represents a unique moment of Hindu art and religion merging together to form a powerful architectural spirituality. A worshipper would have encountered this image as one of several bands of sculptures in successive waves of higher and higher towers. He would have meditated upon it as one mythical moment in a spiritual progression involving several Hindu narratives.

Download a Carlos Conversation podcast in which Joyce Flueckiger and Laurie Patton, Professors in Emory's Department of Religion, discuss this image.


Here is the full list of Emory events in this Creation Stories series:

Emory Univ: Sculpture illustrating concepts of time, creation, dissolution in Hinduism
11/6/2014 4:00 PM

Emory University: Docents Tour of Creation Project
11/9/2014 3:00 PM

Carlos Reads Book Club: The Popol Vuh
11/10/2014 7:30 PM 

Emory University: Sacrifice as Creation
11/11/2014 7:30 PM

Emory University: Manu's Ark, for ages 3-5
11/15/2014 10:00 AM

Emory University: AVATARS: the Manifestations of Vishnu Workshop for Children
11/16/2014 2:00 PM

Emory University: Skies of India, planetarium program
11/16/2014 3:00 PM, also 7:30 PM

Emory University: Vishnu's role in Hindu stories of creation
11/20/2014 5:00 PM

Emory University: Creation Stories Concert
11/22/2014 8:00 PM

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