Vaikuntha Chaturmurti

Gujarat, 11th century
Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay

This beautiful sculpture combines a smiling, anthromorphic Vishnu (principal head) with lion and boar faces on the side and another face behind. Many writers interpret the lion and boar as avatars. However, according to Huntington (p. 367), these faces do not represent Narasimha and Varaha; instead, they represent cosmic emanations (vyuhas) of Vishnu. In the Pancharatra sect of Vishnu worship, the vyuhas represent various spiritual forms and powers of God, such as knowledge, courage, and power.