Art/ Collection/ Art Object

"King Sal Visits Kala Yavana", Folio from a Harivamsa (Legend of Hari (Krishna))

Object Name:
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
ca. 1590–95
Attributed to present-day Pakistan, probably Lahore
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Page: 13 9/16 x 8 15/16 in. (34.4 x 22.7 cm) Painting: 11 7/16 x 2 3/4 in. (29 x 7 cm) Text page: 9 1/4 x 5 3/8 in. (23.5 x 13.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Louis V. Bell Fund, 1967
Accession Number:
Not on view
As an addition to the Mahabharata, the Harivamsa or Legend of Krishna, a geneology of Hari (another name for the god Krishna) was first written to provide further details of his life. Its translation from Sanskrit to Persian was undertaken by Maulana Shiri (d. 1586) during Akbar's last year at Fathpur Sikri. Twenty-eight miniatures survive from this copy of the manuscript which relates to an earlier version reported to be in the Jaipur City Palace Museum.[1] This page belongs to a group of four leaves of the Harivamsa in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[2] This painting depicts the meeting of the King Salya and Kala Yavana, a foreign king who led an army against Krishna in Mathura. King Salya's throne upon which he arrived hovers in the sky while Kala Yavana's companions bear gifts upon golden platters. The people of the town gaze and point at the wondrous sight of the airborne throne in the swirling skies. The view into the city offers a glimpse of womenfolk within the walls.

Navina Haidar in [Calza 2012]


1. See Beach, Milo Cleveland. The Imperial Image: Paintings from the Mughal Court. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1981, pp. 68–75, for a discussion of the Harivamsa and a list of its folios.

2. Skelton, Robert, "Mughal Paintings from Harivamsa Manuscript". Victoria and Albert Museum Year Book 2, (London). 1969, pp. 41–54.

Hagop Kevorkian, New York (until d. 1962: his estate sale, Sotheby's, London,December 6, 1967, no. 115, to MMA)
Rome. Museo Fondazione Roma. "Akbar: The Great Emperor of India," October 22, 2012–February 3, 2013, V.24.

"The Property of the Kevorkian Foundation, December 6, 1967." In Highly Important Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures. London: Sotheby's, New York, 1967. no. 115, p. 38, ill. opp. p. 38 (b/w).

Calza, Gian Carlo. "The Great Emperor of India." In Akbar. Milan: Skira, 2012. no. V.24, pp. 218-219, 274, ill. pp. 218-9, (color).

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