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The gods hatch a plan

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The gods hatch a plan

Purkhu, Indian, b. 18th century

Creation date: ca. 1825
Creation place: India

Other Information

Type: Watercolor Painting
Medium and Support: Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Credit Line: Edwin Binney 3rd Collection
Accession Number: 1990.1303
State/Province: Himachal Pradesh
Dimensions: 10 7/16 x 14 27/32 in. (27 x 38 cm)


Origins, Boston, Massachusetts ( - December 1, 1973)

Khalil Gabrin, ( - )

Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Schulman, ( - )

Edwin Binney 3rd, San Diego, California (December 1, 1973 - August 27, 1990)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (August 27, 1990 - )

Label Copy

This painting depicts the complex circumstances surrounding Rama’s birth. A celestial gathering takes place in the capital city of Ayodhya, where a sacrifice meant to produce a son for Emperor Dasaratha is being performed. Anxious to be rid of Ravana, an invincible demon king who has been terrorizing them—and upon learning that a human could, in fact, destroy him—the gods hatch a plan. The action appears to read from left to right. The four-headed god Brahma, having been asked by the gods for help since he had granted Ravana the boon of invincibility, first implores the god Shiva (portrayed with white skin), to whom Ravana is a devoted disciple. Unsuccessful, Brahma turns to Vishnu, enthroned in the lustrous pavilion at the center of the composition. Vishnu agrees to take human form as four sons of Dasaratha, one of whom—Rama—will kill Ravana. To the right, Brahma conveys the details of the plan to the sage Rishyasringa, who is dressed in animal skins. In the courtyard at the lower right, the sage, seated opposite the crowned Dasaratha, begins the rituals to propagate Vishnu. In the room above, he presents to Dasaratha’s three queens the celestial food that will impregnate them.
Last Updated: 9/5/2017


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Epic Tales from India: Paintings from The San Diego Museum of Art The San Diego Museum of Art , 11/19/2016 - 6/12/2018


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Ms. Marika Sardar and Ms Neeraja Poddar. Epic Tales from Ancient India San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2016
Page Number: 74, 75, Figure Number: cat. 35


Inscription, Verso: This says "Bāl 14" (probably for Bālkāṇḍ). Also, the number "12" is somewhat smudged out before it says "Bāl 14."

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