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The Hindu deity Krishna playing the flute (back); The Hindu deity Lakshmi with elephants (front)
Place of Origin: India, Mysore, Karnataka state
Date: approx. 1825-1875
Materials: Ink and colors on paper
Dimensions: H. 8 1/4 in x W. 6 5/8 in, H. 21.0 cm x W. 16.8 cm
Credit Line: Acquisition made possible by the George Hopper Fitch Bequest
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Books And Manuscripts
Object Number: 2013.17.3.a-.b
On Display: No

Description

Label:

This page from an artist's sketchbook shows the standing figure of Krishna playing a flute with a calf behind him. The smooth and fluid quality of the line, with thin washes of color applied to select areas, along with the elegant treatment of the forms of the body, combine to give a lyrical quality to the image.

Paintings like this are often seen in southern India, where there existed a tradition of extensive sets of full-page colored drawings and paintings compiled into albums and depicting Hindu deities, saints, and views of important temples. Made between approximately 1775 and 1900, many of these painting sets were created by Indian artists for British patrons. Artists' sketchbooks contained drawings of figure types, iconic forms and myths of Hindu gods, compositions, and ornamental motifs. These important tools served as a reference for artists as well as a sample of work for prospective patrons.


More Information

Additional Label:

As the gentle and generous giver (dayini) of devotees’ desires, Lakshmi is one of Hinduism’s most beloved goddesses. A personification of good fortune, prosperity, wealth, and beauty, she is also called Shri (that which is pleasing), Padma, and Kamala (lotus). In the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata and other texts, Lakshmi comes forth fully formed out of the primeval ocean at the time of the universe’s creation (in the episode known as the “Churning of the Ocean”), along with other auspicious treasures such as amrita (nectar of immortality), and she chooses Vishnu as her lord.

Lakshmi is here shown seated on a lotus-based throne, holding lotuses in two of her hands; her other two hands are in gestures of blessing and wish-granting. She is being adored by a pair of elephants (gaja) in a motif that is known as gajalakshmi. Typically, though not in this drawing, the elephants shower the goddess with water, symbolizing her association with rain and fertility.

Lakshmi is joyously celebrated with the lighting of lamps and other festive ceremonies during Diwali, the annual Festival of Lights.

(Object label from Worshiping Women: Power and Devotion in Indian Painting.)


Label:

This page from an artist's sketchbook shows the standing figure of Krishna playing a flute with a calf behind him. The smooth and fluid quality of the line, with thin washes of color applied to select areas, along with the elegant treatment of the forms of the body, combine to give a lyrical quality to the image.

Paintings like this are often seen in southern India, where there existed a tradition of extensive sets of full-page colored drawings and paintings compiled into albums and depicting Hindu deities, saints, and views of important temples. Made between approximately 1775 and 1900, many of these painting sets were created by Indian artists for British patrons. Artists' sketchbooks contained drawings of figure types, iconic forms and myths of Hindu gods, compositions, and ornamental motifs. These important tools served as a reference for artists as well as a sample of work for prospective patrons.


Expanded Label:

As the gentle and generous giver (dayini) of devotees’ desires, Lakshmi is one of Hinduism’s most beloved goddesses. A personification of good fortune, prosperity, wealth, and beauty, she is also called Shri (that which is pleasing), Padma, and Kamala (lotus). In the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata and other texts, Lakshmi comes forth fully formed out of the primeval ocean at the time of the universe’s creation (in the episode known as the “Churning of the Ocean”), along with other auspicious treasures such as amrita (nectar of immortality), and she chooses Vishnu as her lord.

Lakshmi is here shown seated on a lotus-based throne, holding lotuses in two of her hands; her other two hands are in gestures of blessing and wish-granting. She is being adored by a pair of elephants (gaja) in a motif that is known as gajalakshmi. Typically, though not in this drawing, the elephants shower the goddess with water, symbolizing her association with rain and fertility.

Lakshmi is joyously celebrated with the lighting of lamps and other festive ceremonies during Diwali, the annual Festival of Lights.

(Object label from Worshiping Women: Power and Devotion in Indian Painting.)