Folio from a Bhagavata Purana series


Not on view

These two large format folios are from an important series of paintings illustrating seminal moments in the exploits of the young Krishna, as described in Book Ten of the Hindu epic the Bhagavata Purana. The large format is uncharacteristic of Nepali painting and can be attributed to the influence of Indian, probably Rajput, court painting styles. The rulers of 18th century Nepal claimed Rajput ancestry and their court culture emulated much that was understood as Rajput. This painting is part of an ambitious series numbering around 100 folios, now dispersed, which all display the same dimensions, the distinctive red border and the aerial perspectives onto complex architectural constructions, features shared with the later court painting of Udaipur.

Folio I. Scene depicts Pradyumna (nee Kama, god of love), the son of Krishna and Rukmini, who had been kidnapped by a demon soon after his birth. As a young man Pradyumna finally defeats the demon with the assistance of Rati and her magical powers. They marry and together return to his ancestral palace of Dwarka, the setting of this narrative.

Folio II This scene depict Krishna setting off by carriage on a hunting expedition with Arjuna, having departed Indraprastha palace, the home of the Pandava clan, and about to enter a wondrous forested mountain landscape populated by wild animals.

Folio from a Bhagavata Purana series, Watercolor and ink on paper, Nepal

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