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Birth of Bhima
Page from a dispersed series of the Mahabharata

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India, Asia

c. 1800-1815

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

Image: 9 1/4 x 12 7/8 inches (23.5 x 32.7 cm) Sheet: 11 13/16 × 15 7/16 inches (30 × 39.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lessing J. Rosenwald, 1959

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Fearing Kindama's curse, childless King Pandu renounces intercourse. However, Pandu's wife Kunti was granted the ability to call any god at will. She summons various deities to impregnate her and her co-wife, and they give birth to the five Pandava brothers, the heroes of the Mahabharata. From Vayu, lord of the wind, Kunti conceives Bhima, who displays exceptional strength as soon as he is born. The room on the left shows Kunti after she has given birth. She carries the baby up a mountain but is frightened by a tiger and drops him. The infant, however, breaks the side of the mountain and lands unscathed. Pandu joins Kunti and they gaze in wonder, then discuss this miracle before Pandu goes off to confer with a group of sages and (on the lower right) the god Indra.

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