Indian and Himalayan Art
Krishna Lifts Mount Govardhana
Artist/maker unknown, India
Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver-colored paint on paper
Currently not on view
2004-149-31125th Anniversary Acquisition. Alvin O. Bellak Collection, 2004
LabelKrishna's cowherd friends were preparing to worship the god Indra, Lord of Storms, who gives life-supporting water. Krishna asked them instead to worship Mount Govardhana, and he became the spirit of the mountain to receive their offerings. Indra became angry at this usurpation and sent down a dreadful storm. Krishna lifted Mount Govardhana like an umbrella over his friends and their cattle, supporting it for seven days. Blue-skinned and saffron-clad, Krishna dominates this scene in his familiar pose as the cowherd lord. His white-skinned brother Balarama stands to his left, his graying stepfather Nanda to his right. They hold up flimsy cowherders' staffs which, thanks to Krishna's divine power, support the mountain's bulk.