The Goddess Bhairavi Devi with Shiva, Attributed to Payag (Indian, active ca. 1591–1658), Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

The Goddess Bhairavi Devi with Shiva

Attributed to Payag (Indian, active ca. 1591–1658)
Object Name:
Illustrated album leaf
ca. 1630–35
Country of Origin India
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H. 7 1/4 in. (18.5 cm)
W. 10 3/8 in. (26.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2011
Accession Number:
Not on view
In this painting attributed to the Mughal artist Payag, a demonic form of the Hindu goddess Bhairavi, female counterpart to Shiva, sits on the body of a decomposing corpse. Wearing jewelry and a skirt made of skulls, and horns in the form of spear heads, she is accompanied by Shiva who appears in the form of a devotee. Three of her hands carry symbols of destruction, while her fourth extends a gesture of blessing. The borders, executed in gold monochrome, form a continuation of the desolate landscape in the painting itself. The inscription above the image, written in Devanagari script, identifies Bhairavi.
reportedly Mewar Royal Collection, India; [ Spink & Sons Ltd., London, ca. 1985–87; cat., 1987, no. 16, sold to Welch]; Stuart Cary Welch, Cambridge, MA (1987–d. 2008; his estate 2008–11); his estate sale, Sotheby's, London (British), May 31, 2011, no. 5, to MMA
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Indian Court Painting," March 25, 1997–July 6, 1997, no. 23.

"to be exhibited for sale by Spink and Sons Ltd.." In Indian Miniature Painting. London: Spink & Sons Ltd., 1987. no. 16, pp. 38-39.

Guy, John. Indian Art & Connoisseurship : Essays in Honour of Douglas Barrett, edited by John Guy and Deborah Swallow. Middletown, NJ: Grantha Corp in Assoc. with Mapin Pub. Pvt. Ltd., 1995. p. 293, ill. pl. 19 (color), Article: Welch, SC. "The two worlds of Payag - Further Evidence on a Mughal artist". pp.320–41.

Kossak, Steven M., ed. Indian Court Painting 16th–19th century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997. no. 23, p. 52, ill. (color).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. p. 17.

Haidar, Navina. "Visual Splendour: Embellished Pages from the Metropolitan Museum 's Collection of Islamic and Indian Manuscripts." Arts of Asia vol. 42 (2012). pp. 108-109, ill. figs. 1, 2.