The Sublime Image of Lord Vishnu

Item Code: XF18
Jackfruit Wood SculptureArtist: Bhagaban Subhudhi
Dimensions 23.75 inch X 8.5 inch X 6.5 inch
Weight: 3.07 kg
Free delivery
Free delivery
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
This delicate sculpture carved from the fine jackfruit wood, one of the finest kind of timber of moderate hardness used for carving images, by Bhagaban Subhudhi, the known South Indian contemporary wood sculptor, represents Lord Vishnu in his usual four-armed manifestation carrying in three of them ‘chakra’ – disc, ‘Shankha’ – conch, and ‘Gada’ – mace, the fourth being held in ‘abhaya’, the gesture assuring protection from everything untoward. The fourth, lotus, another attribute prescribed for the images of Lord Vishnu, is not carried in one of his hands but has been incorporated in the iconography of the image as two garlands which consist of lotuses, instead of the usual Parijat flowers. Apart, the seat the image has been installed on also consists of three rows of lotuses.

Though with wood its medium, by the quality of its art : the fineness with which each bead, string, tiniest motif has been carved, the image reveals rare resplendence, great majesty and divine aura, not seen even in the finest of bronzes. It reveals challenging skill in installing a relatively a taller image on a pedestal with little breadth, supported just on the image’s feet and a couple of centimeters wide sash-ends and mace-point. The fineness and beauty of adornment astonishes the eye. Not merely the usual ‘Kundalas’ – ear-ornaments, and their supplementary parts : floral and leaves designs, are more elaborate, even the ornaments adorning breast, shoulders, arms, ankles and feet have been most artistically conceived and created. The well pleated ‘antariya’ – lower garment, frilled with bead-strings, and the sash, unfurling from around the waist, are some of the most delightful aspects of the image.

With finely carved features, sharp nose aligning rhythmically with arching eye-brows and the ‘tilaka’ mark above affording to whole composition the vertical thrust, thoughtful eyes revealing absolute quiescence, a mild smile on lips, a well-defined chin and neck, elegantly poised figure, well proportioned anatomy, long artistic fingers, fluid form and the body’s delightful curves and twists, the wood-piece becomes one of the finest examples of South Indian art of wood carving, or rather, of its centuries long tradition of bronzes, which painted appropriately : like a bronze or copper piece as also to reflect Vishnu’s body colour, this wood statue sometimes looks. In the artist’s zeal for details, emphasis on embellishment, elegance and finish, and in emotional bearing, the statue is unsurpassed.

In Lord Vishnu’s imagery his two forms, one Sheshasayi, that is, reclining on the coils of serpent Shesha in the Kshirasagara – mythical ocean of milk, with his consort Lakshmi in attendance, and the other, as standing portraying his readiness to move to a call, as represents this statue, are almost concretized. As the Rig-Veda perceives him and the root term ‘Vish’ means, Vishnu is one who expands beyond the known and unknown worlds, that is, all known and unknown spaces. His iconography has been accordingly conceived. As such, except a few Yoga-Narayana or ‘yogasana’ images, which are his seated images, he is represented either as fully stretched over the surface of the Kshirasagara, an act by which he is seen pervading the entire cosmos, or as standing representing him as the cosmos’s supreme Commander in readiness to instantly proceed to attend an emergency or a call.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.

How to care for Wood Statues?

Wood is extensively used in sculpting especially in countries like China, Germany, and Japan. One feature that makes the wood extremely suitable for making statues and sculptures is that it is light and can take very fine detail. It is easier for artists to work with wood than with other materials such as metal or stone. Both hardwoods, as well as softwood, are used for making sculptures. Wood is mainly used for indoor sculptures because it is not as durable as stone. Changes in weather cause wooden sculptures to split or be attacked by insects or fungus. The principal woods for making sculptures and statues are cedar, pine, walnut, oak, and mahogany. The most common technique that sculptors use to make sculptures out of wood is carving with a chisel and a mallet. Since wooden statues are prone to damage, fire, and rot, they require proper care and maintenance.


  • Wood tends to expand and contract even after it has been processed, thus it is always recommended to keep the wooden sculptures in rooms with little humidity. Excess moisture can harm your masterpiece.


  • Periodical dusting of the finished piece is necessary to maintain its beauty as dust accumulation on the surface takes away the shine of the sculpture. You can use a clean and soft cloth or a hairbrush for this purpose.


  • You must avoid applying any chemical-based solutions that may damage the wood from the inside. Instead, you can apply lemon oil or coconut oil using a cotton rag to the sculpture to bring out its natural shine. Lemon oil also helps to clean any stains on the sculpture.


  • Applying a layer of beeswax protects the wood from sun damage and hides even the smallest imperfections on the wood.


It is extremely important to preserve and protect wooden sculptures with proper care. A little carelessness and negligence can lead to their decay, resulting in losing all their beauty and strength. Therefore, a regular clean-up of the sculptures is a must to prolong their age and to maintain their shine and luster. 

How are wood statues made?

Wood has been a preferred material for sculptures and statues since ancient times. It is easy to work with than most metals and stones and therefore requires less effort to shape it into any desired shape or form. The texture of the wood gives an element of realism to the sculpture. The selection of an appropriate wood type is necessary for carving. Woods that are too resinous or coniferous are not considered good for carving as their fiber is very soft and thus lacks strength. On the other hand, wood such as Mahogany, Oakwood, Walnut wood, Weet cherry wood, etc., are preferred by sculptors because their fiber is harder.

A wood sculptor uses various tools such as a pointed chisel in one hand and a mallet in another to bring the wood to the desired measurement and to make intricate details on it. A carving knife is used to cut and smooth the wood. Other tools such as the gouge, V-tool, and coping saw also serve as important tools in wood carving. Although the wood carving technique is not as complex and tough as stone carving or metal sculpting, nonetheless, a wood carver requires a high level of skills and expertise to create a stunning sculpture.

1. Selecting the right wood

The process of wood carving begins with selecting a chunk of wood that is required according to the type and shape of the statue to be created by the sculptor. Both hardwoods and softwoods are used for making artistic pieces, however, hardwoods are preferred more than softer woods because of their durability and longevity. But if heavy detailing is to be done on the statue, wood with fine grain would be needed as it would be difficult to work with hardwood.

2. Shaping the wood

Once the wood type is selected, the wood carver begins the general shaping process using gouges of various sizes. A gouge is a tool having a curved cutting edge which is useful in removing large unwanted portions of wood easily without splitting the wood. The sculptor always carves the wood across the grain of the wood and not against it.


3. Adding detailing

When a refined shape of the statue is obtained, it is time for making details on the statue using different tools. This is achieved by using tools such as a veiner to make and a V-tool to create decorative and sharp cuts.


4. Surface finishing

Once finer details have been added, the sculptor is ready to smoothen the surface and give it a perfect finish. Tools such as rasps and rifflers are used to get a smooth surface. The finer polishing is obtained by rubbing the surface with sandpaper. If a textured surface is required, this step is skipped. Finally, to protect the statue from excessive dirt accumulation, the sculptor applies natural oils such as walnut or linseed oil all over it. This also brings a natural sheen to the statue.


Wood statues are lighter in weight and less expensive than metal or stone pieces. Because wood is prone to fast decay by fungus and algae, statues made out of this material are not preferred to be kept outside. The rich tradition of wood carving in countries such as Africa, Egypt, India, and Nepal has been followed for many centuries. Indian craftsmen are specialized in this classic art and continue to exhibit their extraordinary artistic skills.

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