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Indian Art : “Celebrations of Krishna’s Birth, from a Bhagavata Purana” (c. 1730)

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The Hindu kingdom of Mankot in the western foothills of the Himalayas developed a bold style of painting in which figures in strict profile stand out against an intense yellow ground. Musicians enthusiastically proclaim the arrival of infant Krishna at the village of Vraj, where he was brought as a newborn to grow to maturity in safety among the cowherders. He was secreted away from the evil king Kamsa who wanted to murder the child on account of a prophecy that foretold his own death by Krishna. Krishna’s adoptive father Nanda, the village headmaster, receives tufts of grass as tokens of congratulations from a well-wisher, while a soldier salutes him.

(Text courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art).

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