The Churning of the Ocean of Milk, ca. 1780-90. Creator: Unknown
The Churning of the Ocean of Milk, ca. 1780-90. At the time of the great deluge aeons ago, many treasures— including amrita, the nectar of immortality—were lost beneath the primordial ocean. Gods and demons still jockeying for power decided to raise these powerful objects from the watery depths. They harnessed the serpent Vasuki as a rope to turn Mount Mandara and Vishnu assumed his tortoise avatar to support the giant pivot. The demons, tricked into pulling the head of the snake, were weakened by its poisonous breath. Here, many of the treasures have already been raised and are visible in the sky, while Vishnu is seen twice, below and atop the peak.
© Heritage Art/Heritage Images
'The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up...', mid 19th century
'The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened', mid 19th century. Biblical scene, from Moses 7: 11: 'And after seven days the floodwaters came upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month, all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And the rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights'. God sends a flood - the only human survivors on Earth are Noah and his family. The rest of the population try desperately to escape the rising floodwaters, but are destined to drown. Engraving after 'Winter (The Flood)', a painting made c1660 by Nicolas Poussin, in a series depicting the Four Seasons, in the Louvre Museum, Paris.
© The Print Collector/Heritage Images
Bronze figure of Sekhmet with sun disc and uraeus, Ancient Egyptian, c6th century BC
Bronze figure of Sekhmet with sun disc and uraeus, Ancient Egyptian, c6th century BC. A goddess of war, the lion-headed Sekhmet was also associated with sorcery and healing. The inscription on the base invokes her blessing in the name of Wedja-Hor-resnet, the donor of the votive figure.
© Werner Forman Archive /Christie's, London / Heritage-Images
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