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Pavilion with Krishna Paintings

India, Himachal Pradesh, Kangra

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 693

This enigmatic painting is probably a faithful rendering of a puja room (a space used for prayer and meditation) belonging to a Kangra ruler. On the exterior of the small marble pavilion are nine painted vignettes from the life of Vishnu and his avatar Krishna, each illustrating heroic and mischievous exploits. The pavilion is set against a monochromatic blue ground representing sky, suggesting that it was located outdoors, presumably in a courtyard or garden within a palace complex. The ruling household of Kangra were devotees of Vishnu, and Maharaja Sansar Chand (r. 1775–1823) was particularly renowned for his devotion to Krishna.

Pavilion with Krishna Paintings, Opaque watercolor on paper, India, Himachal Pradesh, Kangra

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Photo © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford