Indian and Himalayan Art
Krishna Destroys the Demoness Putana
Artist/maker unknown, India
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Currently not on view
2004-149-54125th Anniversary Acquisition. Alvin O. Bellak Collection, 2004
LabelThe first asura sent by evil King Kansa to kill Krishna was the demoness Putana, the Devourer of Infants. She pretended to be a wet-nurse, but her breast was full of poison instead of milk. Krishna recognized her, but suckled anyway. Instead of dying from the poison, however, the divine baby sucked so forcefully that he killed the demoness. In this illustration, Krishna kneels triumphantly on Putana's enormous chest as she dies, her breast and tongue lolling, while the village women look on in wonder.