May 24, 2016

Krishna Quells the Serpent Kaliya, from a Bhagavata Purana

Krishna Quells the Serpent Kaliya, from a Bhagavata Purana

c. 1710

Gum tempera and gold on paper

Page: 40.8 x 23 cm (16 1/16 x 9 1/16 in.); Miniature: 36.9 x 19.1 cm (14 1/2 x 7 1/2 in.)

Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection; Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2018.141


Did you know?

The snake-demon Kaliya holds a flower in his mouth for Krishna.


In the forest where Krishna lived as a youth among the cowherds, there was a great pool of water connected to the Yamuna River. The water had become toxic from the poison excreted by all the snakes living there, including the serpent Kaliya. Kaliya’s royal residence is depicted at the lower right. In order to make the pool usable for drinking and bathing, Krishna tamed the serpent king by dancing on his heads. Krishna then persuaded him to move away to the ocean.

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