Page from a Bhagavata Purana Series: Krishna Slays Bakasura (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

ca. 1720
Indian
Paintings
Works On Paper
opaque watercolor and ink on paper
Gujarat, India
Sheet: 10 5/16 × 8 7/8 in. (26.19 × 22.54 cm)
Mat: 20 × 16 in. (50.8 × 40.64 cm)
68.8.73
Not on view
Krishna’s idyllic life as a cowherd in Vrindavan was periodically disrupted by the demons his evil uncle Kansa sent to destroy him. On one occasion, Krishna, his foster brother Balarama, and other cowherds stopped to water their cattle at a pond. There, Bakasura—a demon in the form of a giant crane—suddenly swooped down and attempted to swallow Krishna. Heating himself with divine energy, the blueskinned god became so hot that Bakasura had to disgorge him. This energetic western Indian painting shows the episode’s final moment, when Krishna slays the demon-crane by ripping apart its great beak as villagers and herdsmen rush to help. So flat and decorative is this densely packed picture that it resembles Gujarat’s embroidered textiles.
Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Gift of Paul Mellon
Dye, Joseph M. The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. London: Philipp Wilson, 2001. (cat. no. 126, p. 310)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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