Rao Ram Singh I of Kota Plays Nanda (recto)
Krishna Enthroned (verso)
Possibly a page from a dispersed series of the Bhagavata Purana (Story of the Lord Vishnu)
Artist/maker unknown, India
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Indian painters found many clever ways to please their patrons and add layers of meaning to their works. Here several toddlers play in front of a seated man who holds a blue-skinned child on his lap. The child is the young Krishna and the man is Nanda, Krishna's adoptive father and chief of the cowherd community in which Krishna was raised. However, the artist has given Nanda the facial features of his own patron, Rao Ram Singh I of Kota (1696-1707). By "becoming" Nanda, the Kota ruler also becomes the protector of the infant Krishna. In reality, Krishna was often considered the true ruler of Kota, and the kings styled themselves as his deputies.