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Page from a Dispersed Bhagavata Purana Series

Asian Art

This is a page from a manuscript of the Bhagavata Purana, a lengthy Hindu scripture dedicated to the god Krishna, who is said to have lived on earth as a prince. The episode has not been firmly identified, but it depicts a city being besieged by demons. The artist employed a clever device to illustrate the siege with an economy of means, floating the crenellated square of the city walls in space so we can see that it is surrounded on all sides. At either end we see multistoried urban buildings populated by demons (in the upper left unit) and regular people, including a family at the upper right and a woman worshipping a small image of a goddess at the lower left. The compartmentalization and inventive abstraction of this image are both typical of paintings made in Central India, in a region once known as Malwa.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor on paper
DATES ca. 1610–1650
DIMENSIONS 9 x 14 in. (22.9 x 35.6 cm) Other: 8 1/2 x 13 1/2in. (21.6 x 34.3cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS Verso, in Braj, in black ink, in Devanagari script: ...The Lord [Krishna] was conceived by Devaki. At the same time her co-wife also conceived and they both went through feelings of fear, joy, and sadness.... For the welfare of Jadu lineage, the Almighty switched himself with Jogamaya. He frightened and killed Mu[?]shtika, Vrishvasura, Banasura, and the demoness Putana. He went to Mathura, returning to his natural parents, who became very happy. Their sadness was gone forever. The kings of Panchala, Kosala, Salva, and Vidarbha, along with the son of the demon Dhenuka, joined together to threaten Mathura. Their joint attempt to burn the city was foiled by Hari [Krishna], the cloud complexioned boy.... (Trans. S. Mitra)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Robert Walzer
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Indian. Page from a Dispersed Bhagavata Purana Series, ca. 1610–1650. Opaque watercolor on paper, 9 x 14 in. (22.9 x 35.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Robert Walzer, 84.206.1 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 84.206.1_IMLS_PS4.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 84.206.1_IMLS_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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