Krishna Subduing Kaliya, the Snake Demon: Folio from a Bhagavata Purana Series
First generation after Manaku and Nainsukh
India (Garwhal, Himachal Pradesh)
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper
8 x 10 1/2 in. (20.3 x 26.7 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1927
Not on view
In this painting, Krishna battles Kaliya, a hundred-headed serpent (naga) who was poisoning the River Yamuna. At first, Krishna was encircled by the demon's coils and stung by its venom. Gaining strength from his anger, however, Krishna frees himself and dances on the heads of the beast. The weight of the universe infuses the god's body, the snake loses consciousness, and the river is purified. Here, Kaliya's wives prostrate themselves before Krishna, seeking mercy for their husband, which the god eventually grants.