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Krishna and Indra

Painting
ca. 1590 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The Harivamsa ,"Genealogy of Hari" was a continuation of the great Sanskrit text, the Mahabharata. The Mughal emperor Akbar ordered it to be translated into Persian so that it could be read by non-Hindus. In this illustration to the text done in about 1590, Krishna sweeps down on the bird Garuda to triumph over Indra, the lord of the gods, riding on the white elephant Airavata, watched by gods and celestial beings. The swirling fabrics, billowing clouds, and the boat in the lower part of the scene, are all the result of the influence on Mughal court artists of European paintings. The original manuscript was dispersed and some pages were remounted for later albums, as here. The borders were probably added in Lucknow in the 18th century.
read The arts of the Mughal Empire The great age of Mughal art lasted from about 1580 to 1650 and spanned the reigns of three emperors: Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Hindu and Muslim artists and craftsmen from the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent worked with Iranian masters in the masculine environment of the r...
object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Brief Description
Painting, Harivamsa, Krishna in combat with Indra, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, probably Lahore, ca. 1590
Physical Description
Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, the battle between Krishna and Indra is shown to be taking place in the sky above a landscape strongly influenced by European painting. Gods and celestial beings hover in the billowing clouds. Krishna swoops down on his bird Garuda to attack Indra on his white elephant.
Dimensions
  • Height: 43.5cm
  • Width: 32cm
Content description
The battle between Krishna and Indra is shown to be taking place in the sky above a landscape strongly influenced by European painting. Gods and celestial beings hover in the billowing clouds. Krishna swoops down on his bird Garuda to attack Indra on his white elephant.
Style
Credit line
Bequeathed by the Hon. Dame Ada Macnaghten
Object history
Bequeathed by the Hon. Dame Ada Macnaghten, 1969.
Subjects depicted
Summary
The Harivamsa ,"Genealogy of Hari" was a continuation of the great Sanskrit text, the Mahabharata. The Mughal emperor Akbar ordered it to be translated into Persian so that it could be read by non-Hindus. In this illustration to the text done in about 1590, Krishna sweeps down on the bird Garuda to triumph over Indra, the lord of the gods, riding on the white elephant Airavata, watched by gods and celestial beings. The swirling fabrics, billowing clouds, and the boat in the lower part of the scene, are all the result of the influence on Mughal court artists of European paintings. The original manuscript was dispersed and some pages were remounted for later albums, as here. The borders were probably added in Lucknow in the 18th century.
Bibliographic References
  • Ayers, J. Oriental Art in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London 1983, ISBN 0-85667-120-7p.69Robert Skelton, "Mughal Paintings from Harivamsa Manuscript", Victoria and Albert Museum Yearbook, no. 2, 1970, pp. 41-54 Qamar Adamjee and Audrey Truschke, 'Reimagining the "Idol Temple of Hindustan". Textual and Visual Translation of Sanskrit Texts in Mughal India', in Amy S. Landau, ed., Pearls on a String. Artists, Patrons and Poets at the Great Islamic Courts, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore in association with University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 2016, p. 153, fig. 5.7.
  • Asok Kumar Das, Dawn of Mughal Painting, Bombay 1982, plate IX, p. 26
  • Swallow, Deborah and John Guy eds. Arts of India: 1550-1900. text by Rosemary Crill, John Guy, Veronica Murphy, Susan Stronge and Deborah Swallow. London : V&A Publications, 1990. 240 p., ill. ISBN 1851770224
  • Susan Stronge, Painting for the Mughal Emperor. The art of the book 1560-1650, V&A Publications, 2002, pl. 64, p. 98
  • Topsfield, Andrew, An introduction to Indian Court Painting, H.M.S.O., London, 1984, 0112903835pl. 8, p. 17.
  • Khanna, Balraj; Krishna: The Divine Lover, South Bank Centre, London 1997, ISBN 1 85332 166 4cat. no. 3
  • Swallow, D., Stronge, S., Crill, R., Koezuka, T., editor and translator, "The Art of the Indian Courts. Miniature Painting and Decorative Arts", Victoria & Albert Museum and NHK Kinki Media Plan, 1993.p. 35, cat. no. 9
Collection
Accession Number
IS.5-1970

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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