Picchwai for the Festival of Cows

Date: late 18th century

Culture: India, Deccan, Aurangabad (?)

Medium: Painted and printed gold and silver leaf and opaque watercolor on indigo-dyed cotton

Dimensions: 97 5/8 x 103 1/8 in. (248 x 262 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Painted and Printed

Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2003

Accession Number: 2003.177


Large painted cloths (pichhwais) were made to hang behind the main image in a temple. This textile was produced for the Festival of Cows (Gopashtami), which occurs in the late autumn to celebrate Krishna’s elevation from a herder of calves to a cowherd. Note the range of cows and frolicking calves that populate the flower-strewn field. The indigo ground and extensive use of gold and silver are typical of pichhwais that were made for a community of Sri Nathji devotees who moved to the Deccan during this period.