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Arjuna and His Charioteer Krishna Confront Karna
Final Battle of the Mahabharata

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Himachal Pradesh, India, Asia
or Jammu and Kashmir, India, Asia

c. 1820

Opaque watercolor on cloth

60 inches × 10 feet (152.4 × 304.8 cm) Framed: 67 1/4 inches × 10 feet 6 inches × 3/4 inches (170.8 × 320 × 1.9 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Edith H. Bell Fund, 1975

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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.