"Balarama and Krishna Fighting the Enemy", Folio from a Harivamsa (The Legend of Hari (Krishna))
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Attributed to present-day Pakistan, probably Lahore
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Image: H. 12 in. (30.5 cm)
W. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm)
Page: H. 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm)
W. 9 1/8 in. (23.2 cm)
Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Purchase, Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1928
Not on view
The Harivamsa recounts the story of Krishna, one of the incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu. In this battle scene, Krishna, dressed in yellow and holding his discus, stands atop a mountain. Carrying his own attributes of the plow and pestle, Krishna’s older brother Balarama strikes a soldier of the opposing army. This manuscript, commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar (r. 1556–1606), is one of many examples of Hindu texts that were translated and illustrated during Akbar’s reign, as the Emperor took a keen interest in the traditions and stories of other religious groups in India, founding a translation center to facilitate the spread of knowledge.
[ Hagop Kevorkian, New York, until 1928; sold to MMA]
New York. Asia Society. "Akbar's India: Art from the Mughal City of Victory," October 10, 1985–January 5, 1986, no. 29.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Krishna: Mythology and Worship," February 9, 2004–May 9, 2004.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Krishna: Mythology and Worship," March 1, 2008–July 28, 2008.
Brand, Michael. "Art from the Mughal City of Victory." In Akbar's India. New York: Asia Society, 1985. no. 29, pp. 69, 143, ill. p. 69 (color).