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Krishna and Bakasura

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Kolkata (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in watercolour on paper, with tin alloy details

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Painting, in watercolour on paper, with tin alloy details, image of Krishna shown in the act of killing Bakasura, the Heron Demon, by splitting the bird's long beaks. Krishna is depicted as blue skinned and wide-eyed, wearing short "dhoti" and a cape thrown over his shoulder. He is adorned with the customary peacock-feather tiara and has the Vaishnavite markings on his forehead. The other ornaments on Krishna's body are multi-string necklace painted in white, a pair of ear-rings, bangles, amulets and anklets. The ornaments can be described as the stock-in-trade of the Kalight paintings.

The white wide eyes of Krishna are prominent in this painting due to his dark skin. Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, was fostered by Nanda and Yasoda and he grew up amongst the cowherds in Vrindaban to avoid the vengeance of his maternal uncle Raja Kansa. However, Kansa made several attempts on Krishna's life by sending various demons and among them was Bakasura.

Place of Origin

Kolkata (made)


ca. 1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Painted in watercolour on paper, with tin alloy details

Marks and inscriptions

A.C.E / 16 (at the bottom left hand corner)
Other notes (at the top right hand corner)
Inscriptions are in English. The note on the top right hand corner is very faint and is difficult to read.


Height: 452 mm maximum, Width: 270 mm maximum

Object history note

Part of the same collection (A.C.E) as D.657-1889 and D.661-1889 and stylistically most likely painted by the same painter.

Descriptive line

Painting, Krishna quelling Bakasura, watercolour and tin alloy on paper, Kalighat, Kolkata, ca. 1850

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Archer, W.G., Kalighat Paintings a Catalogue and Introduction, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1971, p.48 (4, v).
p. 18, no. 8, p. 21, p. 36, pl. 8
Archer, W.G., Bazaar Paintings of Calcutta, Victoria & Albert Museum, H.M.S.O., 1955


Paper; Watercolour; Tin alloy; Paint



Subjects depicted

Deity; Heron; Demon; Hinduism; Jewellery


Paintings; Religion; Hinduism; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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