Exhibitions/ Art Object

Krishna Steals the Gopis’ Clothing: Page from a Dispersed Bhagavata Purana Manuscript

ca. 1620–30
India (Rajasthan, Mewar)
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper
9 1/4 x 15 7/8 in. (23.5 x 40.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Douglas III, 1984
Accession Number:
Not on view
This early Mewari manuscript tells of Krishna’s exploits as recounted in the tenth book of the Bhagavata Purana. Here, the young Krishna has stolen the Gopis’ clothing while they were bathing and is shown sitting in a kadamba tree teasing the naked cowherdesses shivering in the cold water. As in many sections of this text, social conventions and family obligations are challenged, as the true devotee must abandon all attachments in order to be one with God. The vitality and color palette of the compositions in this manuscript link them to the painting traditions of Malwa, while the early figures types are analogous to those of Gujarat.
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