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Indian Deity's Sculpture Found in Germany? Pics Are Unrelated

The sculpture's fragments were found in a German cave in 1939 and were assembled over time to form the Löwenmensch.

Published
WebQoof
4 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>The photos show mammoth ivory sculpture called the&nbsp;Löwenmensch, and not Hindu deity Narasimha.</p></div>
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A set of photographs of archeological structures are being shared on Facebook, claiming to show an ancient sculpture of Narasimha, the fourth form of Hindu God Vishnu, which was found in Germany.

The post states that the sculpture is between 35,000 to 40,000 years old, as determined via carbon dating.

However, we found that the sculpture in the claim is known as the Löwenmensch, or Lion-Man and was discovered in a German cave in 1939.

It is currently on display at a museum in Ulm, Germany and is considered to be the oldest form of zoomorphic (animal-shaped) sculpture in the world. Accompanying photos of the Löwenmensch are photos of Narasimha idols or sculptures in Indian caves and temples.

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CLAIM

While there are different photographs in different versions of the claim, all posts are shared with the same text, which reads:

"How Ancient we are? Bhagwan Narasimha sculpture found in Germany. It is determined by carbon dating that it is 35,000 to 40,000 years old. We can think by this how vast our culture was spread before history was distorted.(sic)"

<div class="paragraphs"><p>An archived version of this claim can be accessed <a href="https://perma.cc/HEJ3-FZ3Y">here</a>.</p></div>

An archived version of this claim can be accessed here.

(Photo: Facebook/Screenshot)

The post by Facebook user 'Kesari' was shared over 7,000 times, as of Thursday, 8 July 2021. Another photo has been shared along with the same claim.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>An archived version of this claim can be accessed <a href="https://perma.cc/S6B5-HVZK">here</a>.</p></div>

An archived version of this claim can be accessed here.

(Photo: Facebook/Screenshot)

Different versions of this claim were shared with different photos on Facebook and can also be seen on Twitter here and here.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The claim has been shared with different photos.</p></div>

The claim has been shared with different photos.

(Photo: Facebook/Screenshot)

WHAT WE FOUND OUT

Using reverse image search, we found the origins of the photographs.

The photographs of a small sculpture that were shared as one of Narasimha being found in Germany are actually of the Löwenmensch, which is on permanent display at the Ulm Museum in Germany.

IMAGE 1

<div class="paragraphs"><p>This claim uses a photograph of a rock carved Narasimha from Karnataka's Badami Caves.</p></div>

This claim uses a photograph of a rock carved Narasimha from Karnataka's Badami Caves.

(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

We ran reverse image searches on all the photographs in this image and found that the two upright sculptures (left and middle) were photos of the Löwenmensch, or Lion-man.

The sculpture was initially found as multiple fragments of mammoth ivory pieces in Germany's Hohlenstein-Stadel cave in 1939, as per the Ulm Museum's website, where it is permanently displayed.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The claim uses the sculpture's photograph from a slightly different angle.</p></div>

The claim uses the sculpture's photograph from a slightly different angle.

(Photo Courtesy: Ulm Tourism/Screenshot)

Nature journalist Alex Eccleston tweeted two photos of the Löwenmensch in 2020. The photo on the left is the same as the one used in two images with the misleading claim.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The photo on the left is the one used in two different images with this claim.</p></div>

The photo on the left is the one used in two different images with this claim.

(Photo: Twitter/Screenshot)

Upon running a reverse image search on the photograph of the structure on the right, we found its photos on stock photo websites, which identified it as a Narasimha avatar sculpture at Badami Caves in Karnataka.

Using 'Narasimha sculpture Badami caves' as keywords, we found more information regarding the sculpture. This photo titled '6th century Vishnu avatar Narasimha in Cave 3, Badami Hindu cave temple Karnataka' was found on Wikimedia Commons.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The carving is seen in the largest cave of the Badami Cave temples.</p></div>

The carving is seen in the largest cave of the Badami Cave temples.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Ms Sarah Welch, CC BY-SA 4.0)

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As per the District of Bagalkote, Karnataka's website, the third cave at the Badami caves is the largest one of them and shows carvings of Narasimha and other Hindu deities "engraved in a vigorous style".

IMAGE 2

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The photograph on the left is from Sridham Mayapur, West Bengal.</p></div>

The photograph on the left is from Sridham Mayapur, West Bengal.

(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

The photo on the far right of this image was found on Nature, in an article published in 2003, which called the German lion-man sculpture the world's oldest figurative art.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>This photo of the sculpture is the same as the one used in the claim.</p></div>

This photo of the sculpture is the same as the one used in the claim.

(Photo: Nature/Screenshot)

Using reverse image search, we found the photo on the left published on a website, The Sampradaya Sun in 2009. The caption identifies the location of the photo as Sridham Mayapur.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The caption places the idol at Sridham Mayapur, West Bengal.</p></div>

The caption places the idol at Sridham Mayapur, West Bengal.

(Photo: The Sampradaya Sun/ Screenshot)

Using 'Narasimha Abhishek Sridham Mayapur' as keywords, we found videos of the ritual being performed on the idol uploaded to multiple YouTube channels.

Clearly, the sculpture is not that of Narasimha, the fourth incarnation of Hindu God Vishnu. The sculpture found in Germany is of the Löwenmensch, or lion-man, a mammoth ivory sculpture that is believed to have been carved in the Ice Age and is on permanent display at a German museum. And the other photo, which is of Lord Narasimha, is from India and not Germany.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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