Mask of Vaikuntha Vishnu, late 5th century. Learn more about 5th century masks
A single-handed gesture in South Asian iconography in which the thumb and little finger are extended outward, while the remaining three fingers are bent forward. It is commonly used in several dance traditions of India, where it represents among several meanings –– including a deer’s head, the act of drawing three lines on a brow, the holding of an umbrella and a call to the beloved, to name a few. It derives its name from two Sanskrit words: mriga (“deer”) and shirsa (“head”).