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Painting - Krishna Holding a Flute and Dancing on a Lotus

Krishna Holding a Flute and Dancing on a Lotus

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Tiruchchirappalli (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1825 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gouache on watermarked paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Krishna is the most important of the ten incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu. Here he is shown with his characteristic flute, a symbol of his time spent as a cowherd. When he played his flute the animals around would stand still and worship him, and the music would entice gopis (cowgirls) to come and dance with him.

Krishna is dancing on a lotus, which in Hindu mythology is a symbol of purity and creation. Although many Hindu deities are depicted standing on a lotus as an expression of their divinity, the flower is specifically associated with Vishnu and his consort, Lakshmi.

This painting is typical of a style known as ‘Company painting’. Company paintings were produced by Indian artists primarily for employees of the British East India Company, which started as a trading company based in India in the 17th century, but soon began to acquire territorial rights, until its dissolution in 1857. For their British patrons Company paintings provided a record of life in India.

Physical description

Krishna, the eighth avatara(incarnation) of Vishnu, holding a flute and dancing on a lotus. From a series of 100 drawings of Hindu deities created in South India.

Place of Origin

Tiruchchirappalli (probably, made)


ca. 1825 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gouache on watermarked paper

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed with titles in Telugu with broken English translations.

watermarked paper dated 1820


Length: 22 cm, Width: 18 cm

Object history note

Purchased from Mr A. Churchill, 1923.

Descriptive line

Krishna, the eighth avatara (incarnation) of Vishnu, holding a flute and dancing on a lotus. Probably Trichinopoly, ca. 1825.

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

Archer, Mildred. Company Paintings Indian Paintings of the British period
Victoria and Albert Museum Indian Series London: Victoria and Albert Museum, Maplin Publishing, 1992 30 p. ISBN 0944142303


Gouache; Paper




Paintings; Hinduism; Images Online; Indian Company Paintings


South & South East Asia Collection

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