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From a series of Vishnu avataras: Hayagriva. Jaipur, circa 1860. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli. 25.3 x 20.3cm
Prof. Anna L Dallapiccola in 'Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend' (2002, p. 94) informs that horse-headed Hayagriva became the 18th avatara (incarnation) of Vishnu to be celebrated amongst other things as the protector of the Vedas. Sets showing greater numbers than those of dasavatara (10 incarnations) are much less common making this quite an unusual painting.
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Above: gilt detail reflecting light
Images and text © Peter Blohm