Brahma, the Hindu creator god, 1774-1781.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by Poison after a painting by Pierre Sonnerat (1748-1814), showing Brahma, one of the three principle gods or aspects of deity, the others being Shiva and Vishnu. Brahma, seen here with four heads and four arms, is writing on a leaf. In his other hands he is holding prayer beads and fire. Brahma is sitting on the lotus flower from which he is reborn. The lotus is growing from the navel of the sleeping Vishnu. Illustration from Sonnerat's 'Voyage aux Indes Orientales et a la Chine, fait par ordre du roi, depuis 1774 jusqu'en 1781' ('Voyage to the East Indies and China, made by order of the king, from 1774 to 1781'), published in 1782.