Varaha Avatar (Sanskrit: वराह) is the third Avatar of the Hindu Godhead Vishnu, taking the form of a Varaha (Boar). He appeared in order to defeat Hiranyaksha, a demon who had taken the Earth (Prithvi) and carried it to the bottom of what is described as the cosmic ocean in the story. The battle between Varaha and Hiranyaksha is believed to have lasted for a thousand years, which the former finally won. Varaha carried the Earth out of the ocean between his tusks and restored it to its place in the universe. Vishnu married Prithvi (Bhudevi) in this avatar.
Varaha is depicted in art as either purely animal or as being anthropomorphic, having a boar’s head on a man’s body. In the latter form he has four arms, two of which hold the wheel and conch-shell while the other two hold a mace, sword or lotus or make a gesture (or “mudra”) of blessing. The Earth is held between the boar’s tusks.
The avatar symbolizes the resurrection of the Earth from a pralaya (deluge) and the establishment of a new kalpa (cosmic cycle).
Origin: Uttar Pradesh, Mathura
Date: 3rd century CE
Measurements: 90.2 x 40.6 x 12.7 cm
Source: Norton Simon Museum