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India, Rajasthan, Mewar

Krishna and Balarama in Mathura, illustrations to the Bhagavata Purana

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Object Details

Culture

India, Rajasthan, Mewar

Date

ca. 1720

Medium

Opaque watercolors and gold on paper

Dimensions

Image: 8 1/8 x 14 3/4 inches (20.6 x 37.5 cm)

Credit Line

George and Mary Rockwell Collection

Object
Number

69.008

The Bhagavata Purana, literally “The Ancient Story of the Blessed One,” chronicles the Hindu god(…)

The Bhagavata Purana, literally “The Ancient Story of the Blessed One,” chronicles the Hindu god Vishnu and eight of his incarnations. The tenth book relates stories of the much beloved Krishna and this painting illustrates scenes from chapter 42. Krishna, identified by his blue skin, and his white-skinned brother Balarama arrive in the city of Mathura and are welcomed by its citizens, shown in the upper register gathered on their balconies. On the right side of the second register, a hunchbacked old woman carrying a dish of sandalwood pulp smears it on Krishna in an act of devotion. Krishna then presses her feet with his toes and touches her cheek with his fingers, miraculously causing her back to straighten and restoring her youthful beauty. In the left scene of the second register Krishna takes Kamsa’s bow from the sacrificial arena, strings it, then draws it, breaking it in two. The angered caretaker of the bow then orders his men to kill Krishna. On the left side of the lower register, Krishna and Balarama use the broken bow to kill their attackers. On the right side the brothers arrive at their camp, where they rest for the night.

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