Nov 11, 2014

Celebrations of Krishna's Birth, from a Bhagavata Purana

Celebrations of Krishna's Birth, from a Bhagavata Purana

c. 1725–30

Gum tempera and gold on paper

Image: 22.9 x 15.2 cm (9 x 6 in.); with mat: 49 x 36.3 cm (19 5/16 x 14 5/16 in.)

Edward L. Whittemore Fund 1988.70



The Hindu kingdom of Mankot in the western foothills of the Himalayas developed a bold style of painting in which figures in strict profile stand out against an intense yellow ground. Musicians enthusiastically proclaim the arrival of infant Krishna at the village of Vraj, where he was brought as a newborn to grow to maturity in safety among the cowherders. He was secreted away from the evil king Kamsa who wanted to murder the child on account of a prophecy that foretold his own death by Krishna. Krishna’s adoptive father Nanda, the village headmaster, receives tufts of grass as tokens of congratulations from a well-wisher, while a soldier salutes him.

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