Balarama Kills the Ass Demon, Page from a Dispersed Bhagavata Purana Series
This is an illustration from the Bhagavata Purana, a lengthy Hindu scripture dedicated to the god Krishna, who is said to have lived on earth as a prince. When Krishna (with blue skin) and his brother, Balarama (with white skin), approached a grove in hopes of picking fruit, Dhenuka, a demon who took the form of a donkey (or ass), kicked Balarama in the chest. In the lower right corner of the painting, Balarama is shown recovering from the blow. In the lower left, we see Balarama’s revenge, which was to grab the donkey by the back legs and fling him through the air; the demon died upon landing a great distance away. This repetition of figures to depict several episodes in a single composition is typical of storytelling imagery in India. The beauty of the forest backdrop here belies the violence of the story, none of which is actually illustrated in the painting.
Opaque watercolor and silver on paper
sheet: 8 3/16 x 11 in. (20.8 x 27.9 cm) (show scale)
On reverse: Thus having listened to the narration of his friends, with an intention of promoting their welfare, the Lord, accompanied by the cowherds, went to the palm grove (talavana) with a smile.
Arriving, the Almighty caught hold of his (the ass demon's) hing legs in a hasty motion. Being killed, the wicked (the ass demon) gave out a cry of the cound "ka" from his heart to the king in whose refuge he was, and having been hurled by the Lord with one hand, emitted grass as well as his last breath in front of the king.
This item is not on view
Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Indian. Balarama Kills the Ass Demon, Page from a Dispersed Bhagavata Purana Series, ca. 1725. Opaque watercolor and silver on paper, sheet: 8 3/16 x 11 in. (20.8 x 27.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.227.166 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 86.227.166_IMLS_PS4.jpg)
overall, 86.227.166_IMLS_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.