Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Avatar

Avatar, the incarnation of a deity, or the vehicle of such incarnation. The term is chiefly used of the manifestations of Vishnu (q.v.), but might with propriety be applied to the incarnation of Siva in Hunaman, the monkey-god, or of Jupiter in the bull which bore away Europa. Tylor relates that a Hindu, "being shown the pictures of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, with their respective man, lion, ox, and eagle, explained these quite naturally and satisfactorily as the avatars of the four Evangelists."