© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Unknown Artist
Narayana Enthroned with Lakshmi and Sarasvati
Other Titles
Title: Vishnu Enthroned
Work Type
c. 1830
Creation Place: South Asia, India, Himachal Pradesh, Kangra
Physical Descriptions
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper; Pahari Style, Kangra School
sight: 23 x 15.8 cm (9 1/16 x 6 1/4 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of John Kenneth Galbraith
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
In this painting, Narayana, who is considered the absolute supreme deity in Hinduism, is enthroned. In Vaishnavism, a sect that reveres the Hindu god Vishnu as Narayana. Here, Narayana is depicted as Vishnu, one of the members of the Hindu Trimurti (Trinity), as conveyed by the accoutrements he bears: a lotus, a mace, a conch shell, and Sudarshana Chakra, which he holds against his lap and is partially obscured by the throne. Sudarshana Chakra is Vishnu’s iconic, spinning, disc-like weapon. Based on the orientation of the inscription and the figures, the female figures attending to Narayana can be identified. The first word is “Lakumi” or “Lakshmi”, thus, at his feet is Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, who has just fastened an anklet onto Narayana. Behind the throne and holding up a fly whisk is Sarasvati, the goddess of knowledge, the arts, and music. Pahari Style, Kangra School.
Publication History

Stuart Cary Welch and Milo Cleveland Beach, Gods, Thrones, and Peacocks Northern Indian Painting from Two Traditions, exh. cat., Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1965), page 109/figure 77

Exhibition History

Ambassador's Choice: The Galbraith Collection of Indian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 02/15/1986 - 04/06/1986

Rasika, the Discerning Connoisseur: Indian Paintings from the John Kenneth Galbraith Collection, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/1998 - 04/05/1998

Women in South Asian Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/26/2017 - 01/07/2018

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu