The Poet Bihari Offers Homage to Radha and Krishna
Opening page of the Satasai (Seven Hundred)
Attributed to Nainsukh
Attributed to the master Pahari painter Nainsukh, this is the opening page of the Satasai, a devotional poem by the seventeenth-century writer Bihari. The verse invokes the deities Radha and Krishna, who sit on a jeweled throne. In front of them, a white-robed man bows slightly to the couple. His striped, cloth satchel may hold either the writing tools of a poet or a painter's brushes and pigments. The man is Bihari, honoring his divine inspiration at the beginning of his text. But he is also Nainsukh, whose features included a mustache and a long neck. Thus, in this subtle masterpiece, Krishna and Radha are both deities and royal patrons, while the man with the satchel is both a devotee and a supplicant artist, both the long-dead poet and the living painter.