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Travelling Deities – Vishnu Moves into the Humboldt Forum

Museum für Asiatische Kunst

The famous statue of the Hindu deity Vishnu from the collection of the Museum für Asiatische Kunst has just moved from Dahlem, where the museum’s storage facilities will remain, into the Humboldt Forum.

The statue, which is around 1.65 m tall and weighs almost 500 kg, originates from Tamil Nadu in southern India, and was produced around the turn of the 9th century AD. For many of today’s Hindus – numbering more than a billion people – Vishnu is considered the highest deity, and is often characterised as the “preserver”. According to the scriptures, he always descends to Earth when chaos threatens to gain the upper hand, and intervenes to save humanity.

At the Humboldt Forum, the Vishnu statue is presented in a room that is dedicated to the characteristic visual creations and motifs of Hindu temple art. Here, the central deities of Hinduism in their various guises are featured, as are the ritual uses of images of deities