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Rasalila (Krishna Dances with the Cowherdesses)
Page from a dispersed series of the Bhagavata Purana

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Odisha, India, Asia

Late 18th century

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

18 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches (47 x 31.8 cm) Mat: 24 × 20 inches (61 × 50.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Stella Kramrisch Fund, 2001

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The rasalila (play of passion) is a highly evocative story about the nature of human and divine love. Krishna invites the gopis (cowherdesses) to dance around him as he plays his flute. As he plays, he multiplies himself to dance with each woman simultaneously and enable her to experience a singular, intimate relationship with her Lord. In this way, Krishna reveals his infinity and compatibility. Here blue-skinned Krishna is depicted multiple times in the circle and at the center with his favorite consort, Radha. Lively musicians and dancers play jubilantly as two celestial beings sprinkle flowers from above in admiration. Deer, birds, and fish rhythmically cavort across the bottom.