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Arjuna and His Charioteer Krishna Confront Karna

c. 1820
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
The final battle of the Mahabharata epic emerges in this large painting. The protagonists, painted in huge scale, confront one another across a gory battlefield. On the left the Pandava hero Arjuna sits behind Krishna, his charioteer. On the right is Karna, commander of the Kaurava army. The actual function of this oversized painting is not known, but it might have been a backdrop for a bard's sung rendition of the battle, perhaps acted out by a dancer who would use the painting to help tell the story....

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