Portable shrines of this kind were used by travelling priests who narrated the stories of Vishnu and his incarnations. The shrine has extendable folding doors painted with scenes of Vishnu in his various forms, the stories of Rama and Krishna and other subjects.
Harle, J. C., and Andrew Topsfield, Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1987), no. 77 on pp. 68-69, p. 58, pl. 10 (colour) & p. 69
Branfoot, Crispin, ‘Pilgrimage in South Asia: Crossing Boundaries of Space and Faith’, Ruth Barnes and Crispin Branfoot, eds, Pilgrimage: The Sacred Journey (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2006), p. 53, illus. p. 54 figs 47 a & b
Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2006, Pilgrimage: The Sacred Journey, Ruth Barnes and Crispin Branfoot, eds. (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2006), pp. 53 & 54, illus. p. 54 fig. 47a & fig.47.b
Vishnu is, with Shiva, one of the two most important gods in later Hinduism. He is regarded as sustainer of the universe and maintainer of order. Assuming various forms (avatars), he restores the balance of good and evil in the world.
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