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The Earth Goddess Returns the Stolen Goods to Krishna and Pays Homage to Him

c. 1525-1540
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
This page comes from the earliest known illustrated series of the Bhagavata Purana, an influential Hindu poem written in Sanskrit that praises the god Vishnu and describes his many incarnations. Undoubtedly the god's most compelling form is Krishna, who is usually shown with blue skin. In the indigenous style of Indian painting represented by this work, different episodes in a story, sometimes with the same characters, may appear together on one page. Each episode, however, has its own flat, solid-colored background; the most important are usually set against bright red. The full, curving hips, bold eye, and angular face of the woman at the center is a motif carried into Mughal painting by the Indian artists who joined Emperor Akbar's imperial atelier.

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