S e c r e t s
Lord Vishnu is one of three main forms of Brahman, the Supreme Spirit. He descends to earth when the forces of evil threaten to overcome those of good. The crown symbolizes his supreme power and authority. The two earrings signify the dual nature of creation, such as knowledge and ignorance, happiness and sadness, pleasure and pain. Garuda, his crowned eagle and a powerful totem against evil, sits behind him. Vishnu is usually depicted with four arms, representing the points of the compass and the four stages of life. One hand holds ‘Sankha’, a conch shell indicating water and the spread of the divine sound "Om". The second carries a discus, or ‘Chakra’, a reminder of the wheel of time and the need to conquer evil and ignorance through study. A lotus flower or ‘Padma’ rests in his third, symbolizing the unfolding universe. The fourth holds a mace ‘Gada’, indicating the power of knowledge. Vishnu rests on the bed of the powerful coiled serpent ‘Shesha Nag’, who represents the mind. Six of Shesha Nag’s thousand heads were sculpted, collectively representing an individual’s innumerable desires. Such venomous thoughts can lead to a man’s downfall, but by sitting on and under the snake heads, Vishnu has shown his self-control. Inside, the inscription NA & SL Blancmange refers to one of Ann’s favorite 1980’s indie groups who recorded a song called “Vishnu”. The interior cobra refers both to Vishnu and a popular beer sold in UK Indian restaurants. During the creation of this piece Ann endured a heavy cold, so her handkerchief can be seen on the base.