The Poet Bihari Offers Homage to Radha and Krishna
Opening page separated from a manuscript of the Satasai (Seven Hundred Verses)
Attributed to Nainsukh, Indian
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.