Illustration from the 'Palam' Bhagavata Purana Series: Krishna, Balarama and their Companions in the Forest North India, Delhi-agra region, circa 1520-30
Lot 68
Illustration from the 'Palam' Bhagavata Purana Series: Krishna, Balarama and their Companions in the Forest North India, Delhi-agra region, circa 1520-30
Sold for US$ 21,250 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Illustration from the 'Palam' Bhagavata Purana Series: Krishna, Balarama and their Companions in the Forest
North India, Delhi-agra region, circa 1520-30
Opaque watercolor on paper; three lines of Sanskrit text on the recto. The upper registers with female and male figures in discourse, the lower register with Krishna and Balrama attending a fire puja with wild-haired rishis.
Folio: 6 3/4 x 9 in. (17 x 22.9 cm)

Footnotes

  • The famous series to which this very fine painting once belonged has long been regarded as the most important pre-Mughal Hindu manuscript, and is the earliest known version of the Bhagavata Purana. The finest paintings from the series are astonishingly inventive and energetic.

    "Colours are few and basic, and they are applied in flat, unmodulated areas. Forms and gestures are simple, angular, and clear and are set against solid color backgrounds that are chosen for visual, not descriptive, effectiveness...The narrative is all important, and consequently the scenes have immediate impact; their strongest effect comes with the first encounter." - M.C. Beach, The Imperial Image: Paintings from the Mughal Court, Washington, 1981, p. 48.

    This painting illustrates Book Ten, Chapter 15, lines 14-15 of the Bhagavata Purana: "Krishna and Balarama, having attained their sixth year, were then engaged in Braja in tending cattle...sometimes making his playmates laugh, [Krishna] would dance in imitation of the dancing peacocks...sometimes he would afford comfort to his elder brother fatigued with the toil of play, by chafing his feet, after having made his brother lie down on the lap of other young cowherds...thus by dint of his illusive powers hiding the identity of his own self...that divinity of godly doings...sported in Braja like a country boy with his country companions." -- J. M. Sanyal (trans.), The Srimad-Bhagavatam of the "Palam" Bhagavata Purana series, see among others, M.C. Beach, op. cit., pp. 46-55.

    Provenance:
    Sotheby's, London, April 24, 1996, lot 71
    Private Collection, London
Activities
Contacts
  1. Mark Rasmussen
    Specialist - Southeast Asian, Indian and Himalayan Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, 10022
    United States
    Work +1 917 206 1688
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9009
  2. Edward Wilkinson
    Specialist - Southeast Asian, Indian and Himalayan Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    7601 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, 90046
    United States
    Work +1 323 436 5430
    FaxFax: + 323 850 5843