Krishna Battles the Armies of the Demon Naraka: Page from a Bhagavata Purana Manuscript

Date: ca. 1540

Culture: Northern India, Delhi or Agra region

Medium: Opaque watercolor and ink on paper

Dimensions: Page: 8 x 9 1/16 in. (20.3 x 23 cm)
Image: 5 7/8 x 8 7/8 in. (14.9 x 22.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Lita Annenberg Hazen Charitable Trust Gift, 1985

Accession Number: 1985.34


The Bhagavata Purana describes Vishnu’s avatars with particular attention to his form as Krishna. In this painted folio, the demon Naraka and his consort are seen in the palace interior of their fortified city of Pragyotisha, overseeing a fierce battle scene. Krishna and his consort Satyabhama enter the fray, carried by Vishnu’s birdman mount, Garuda. The figure-types and soldier’s attire directly borrow from Muslim Sultanate-period painting conventions of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.