The Elephant King Wrestles a Crocodile: Illustration from a Gajendramoksha Series
late 19th century
India (Rajasthan, Kotah)
Ink and wash on paper
Image (sight): 16 1/4 x 16 1/2 in. (41.3 x 41.9 cm)
Framed: 24 x 26 in. (61 x 66 cm)
Gift of Subhash Kapoor, in memory of his parents, Smt Shashi Kanta and Shree Parshotam Ram Kapoor, 2008
Not on view
The sketch illustrates the story of the king Gajendra, who had been cursed and transformed into an elephant. One day, a crocodile seized his leg, and it was not until Gajendra appealed to Vishnu that he was saved and reached a state of moksha. This story is a metaphor likening the ignorance of the king to that of an elephant and suggests it is overcome only through unfettered devotion (bhakti).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Living Line: Selected Indian Drawings from the Subhash Kapoor Gift," March 25, 2009–September 7, 2009.