Krishna Battles the Armies of the Demon Naraka: Page from a Dispersed Bhagavata Purana Manuscript
India (Delhi Agra area)
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper
Page: 8 x 9 1/16 in. (20.3 x 23 cm)
Image: 5 7/8 x 8 7/8 in. (14.9 x 22.5 cm)
Purchase, Lita Annenberg Hazen Charitable Trust Gift, 1985
Not on view
The Bhagavata Purana describes Vishnu’s avatars (manifestations), Krishna being the most significant. The demon Naraka and his consort are shown (upper right) sitting in the fortified city of Pragyotisha. Krishna and his consort Satyabhama are shown at the upper left riding on Garuda (the solar bird mount of Vishnu), “like a cloud with lightning sitting above the sun.” The hierarchical organization of this painting juxtaposes Krishna and Naraka, while the surging elephants at center attest to their dramatic, violent conflict. This manuscript originally included more than two hundred illustrations, each of which had the pertinent section of text written on the reverse.