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Krishna Holds Aloft Mount Govardhana
Page from a dispersed series of the Satasai (Seven Hundered) of Bihari

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Datia, Madhya Pradesh, India, Asia

c. 1770

Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver-colored paint on paper

Image: 7 1/8 × 7 1/2 inches (18.1 × 19.1 cm) Sheet: 8 7/8 × 9 1/4 inches (22.5 × 23.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Alvin O. Bellak Collection, 2004

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In this painting Krishna lifts Mount Govardhana to shelter a group of villagers from a devastating rain invoked by the god Indra, Lord of Storms. Krishna stands with one foot crossed in front of the other, holding the mountain aloft with his left hand. The pose is reminiscent of other images of the deity that are worshiped in the temples in the region where this painting was made. Rain falls in torrents from a black sky filled with lightning, yet it is deflected by the massive mound. To either side, villagers fold their hands in reverence and cattle gaze upward in smiling adoration. Rather than depicting the full story, the artist has focused on the main episode, the miraculous revelation of Krishna as god.