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Image of On the wings of Garuda: Krishna and Satyabhama fly through the night sky

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On the wings of Garuda: Krishna and Satyabhama fly through the night sky

Creation date: ca. 1750
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: 1990.683
State/Province: Rajasthan
Dimensions: 6 5/8 in. x 4 5/8 in. (16.83 cm x 11.75 cm)


Stephen Tennant, London, England ( - July 5, 1965)

Howard Hodgkin, London, England ( - )

Stuart Cary Welch, Cambridge, Massachusetts ( - )

Sotheby's, London, England (July 5, 1965 - July 5, 1965)

T. Hughes, London, England (July 5, 1965 - July 5, 1965)

Edwin Binney 3rd, San Diego, California (July 5, 1965 - August 27, 1990)

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

Label Copy

Power & Desire, 04/00

The gods ride through the glittering night sky on Garuda, the mythical half-man half-bird. The lower half of the painting, empty but for the brilliant sky, shows us how far they have come from earth.

Stars are interspersed with flowers: though we cannot see them, the gods hover above the edge of the painting, raining roses, and jasmines onto the airborne pair so that every breath they take is perfumed. Intense observation and deep fantasy coalesce in this image.

A problem of identifyng just who is depicted here persists with this piece. It is either the god Vishnu or his incarnation as the god Krishna. If Vishnu, the companion is Lakshmi. If Krishna, the companion is Satyabhama, one of Krishna’s eight official wives. The god Vishnu usually has four arms, but as “Lakshmi-Narayana,” a meditative form of Vishnu, he has two arms and rides on Garuda, as is shown here. Vishnu, however, is not usually armed with a bow, while Krishna is. We will keep you posted on results of the investigation.
Last Updated: 9/5/2017


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Rajput Miniatures from the Collection of Edwin Binney, 3rd The Portland Art Association , 9/24/1968 - 12/14/1969

Power & Desire: South Asian Paintings from the San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art , 4/29/2000 - 10/5/2003

Goddess: The Divine Female in Hindu and Buddhist Art Art Gallery of New South Wales , 10/13/2006 - 1/28/2007

Temple Palace and Mosque Rotations San Diego Museum of Art , 8/16/2010 - 00/00/00

Visible Vaults The San Diego Museum of Art , 11/12/2016 - 00/00/00


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Dilip Kumar Roy and Indira Devi. Pilgrims of the Stars: Timeless Books. Porthill, Idaho, 1985
Page Number: cover, iii, Figure Number: cover, iii

William George Archer, OBE, MA, D.Litt.. Rajput Miniatures, Portland Art Museum. Portland, Oregon, 1968
Page Number: 26, 30, Figure Number: 15

Vishakha N. Desai. Power & Desire: San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2000
Page Number: 8, Figure Number: detail

Mr. Robert L. Pincus. Night & Day The Union-Tribune. San Diego, California, May 11, 2000
Page Number: 48, 49, Figure Number: 48

Power and Desire: Hong Kong Museum of Art. 2001
Page Number: cat. no. 67, Figure Number: 67 and cover

Catalogue of Fine Western & Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures, Sotheby & Co.. London, England, July 5, 1965
Page Number: 20, Lot no. 79

Amina Okada. Pouvoir et Désir: Miniatures Indiennes, Collection Edwin Binney 3rd du San Diego Museum of Art Paris musées/Éditions Findakly. Paris/Suilly-la-Tour, France, 2002
Page Number: 166, 167, Figure Number: 67

Mr. Jean-Luc Marty, ed. Geo, Groupe Prisma Presse. Paris, France, 2006
Page Number: 54, Figure Number: 54

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