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Krishna Slays Arishta, the Bull Demon
Page from a dispersed series of the Rasikapriya (Connoisseur's Delights) of Keshavadasa

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Madhya Pradesh, Malwa Region, India, Asia

c. 1640

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

Image: 6 × 6 1/4 inches (15.2 × 15.9 cm) Sheet: 8 1/8 × 7 1/8 inches (20.6 × 18.1 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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This story of Krishna impaling the bull demon Arishta on his own horn is traditionally illustrated in the Bhagavata Purana, not the romantic Rasikapriya, of which this is a page. The painting may have been included in this Rasikapriya in praise of Krishna generally or, perhaps, to illustrate an introductory verse that requests his blessings. The image is a fine example of the distinctive style of painting from Malwa in central India. Although Malwa was one of the first Rajput regions to fall under Mughal control in the mid-sixteenth century, its artists absorbed practically nothing from Mughal painting for many decades. With the exception of the figures' Mughal-style turbans, this painting most closely resembles the indigenous style seen in other sixteenth-century Bhagavata Purana pages.