How to distinguish between Sri Devi and Bhu Devi

There are always trick questions and this is one such. When you murthis with multiple consorts how would you distinguish between them. Are there standard right left positioning – like Vishnu with Sridevi and Bhudevi, how would you distinguish between them. You might ask, why to seek, but then each are expected to bless you with a different gift hamper.

This is especially true when only one is found as part of a buried horde. The answer is pretty simple of course, Iconographic guidelines stipulate that Sridevi always comes with a Kuchabandha or breast band, whereas Bhudevi is without.

Let us test this out in. The Vishnu cave ( Olipathi vishnu griham) in Malaiyadipatti has a depiction of Vishnu with his consorts.

Lets step in closer to view the costumes of the two ladies.

You can clearly make out the distinctions between the two of them.

Let us know see this wonderful 10 C CE bronze currently on exhibit at the London Museum.

We will study the evolution of the Vishnu bronze images including a few early period bronzes shortly, but for the purpose of today’s study, lets just analyse the distinction in wearing the Kuchabandha.

Lets go closer to Sridevi

You can see that she clearly wears the Kuchabhanda.

Now for Bhudevi, who doesn’t wear it.

Now, comes the small niggle. The display board under Bhudevi reads as ” Here she wears the characteristic Kuchabandha or breast band‘ which is wrong. She is not wearing in this bronze nor does she ever portrayed as wearing under iconographic canons.

Hope the authorities in the London Museum can make this small correction.