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Image of A Pilgrimage of the Mind

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A Pilgrimage of the Mind

Creation date: ca. 1800
Creation place: India

Other Information

Type: Watercolor Painting
Medium and Support: Opaque watercolor on paper
Credit Line: Edwin Binney 3rd Collection
Accession Number: 1990.726
State/Province: Rajasthan
Dimensions: 5 9/16 in. x 8 15/16 in. (14.13 cm x 22.7 cm)


Heeramaneck Galleries, New York, New York ( - July 25, 1969)

Edwin Binney 3rd, San Diego, California (July 25, 1969 - August 27, 1990)

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

Label Copy

Power & Desire, 04/00
This painting shows another manifestation of a celestial vision. The four oblongs in shown here are bana-lingas – stones rubbed smooth by a river, which are worshipped as abstract icons of Shiva. A devotee sits in prayer, anointing the lingas with holy water and crowning each with sacred bilva leaves.
Water streams down the sides of the lingas. The inscriptions indicate that each linga symbolizes a sacred body of water. The first, with an image of the infant Krishna, is the river Jumna. The second is Gomukha, the cow-face-shaped cave in the Himalayas from which the holy Ganga originates. The third is the place where the Ganga flows into the ocean. And the fourth is the Goddess Ganga herself, who fell from the heavens into Shiva’s hair, and after years of wandering through his dreadlocks, trickled gently to earth.
In India, the pilgrim’s goal is a water body – a sacred tank, lake, river source, or point of confluence. Here, the devotee makes a virtual pilgrimage to the Jumna and the Ganga, mentally superimposing them on the lingas. But the lingas are also in his mind: the oblongs float, without support – yet are crowned with ‘real’ bilva leaves.

October 2005
Domains of Wonder
When sages meditate, they undertake mystical journeys of the mind. Here, the sage's holy thoughts turn to the source of the sacred Ganges river in the hair of the god Shiva in the Himalayas, to the incarnations of Vishnu, and to other subjects not readily comprehensible. Each lobe of his thoughts is honored with flowering sprigs of a sacred plant.
Last Updated: 9/5/2017


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Manifestations of Shiva Philadelphia Museum of Art , 3/29/1981 - 5/30/1982

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

Domains of Wonder: Selected Masterworks of Indian Painting San Diego Museum of Art , 10/22/2005 - 1/27/2008


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Power and Desire: Hong Kong Museum of Art. 2001
Page Number: cat. no. 64, Figure Number: 64

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: 160-161, Figure Number: 64

Stella Kramrisch. Manifestations of Shiva Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1981
Page Number: 228-229 no. P-56, Figure Number: P-56

Brijinder Nath Goswamy and Dr. Caron Smith. Domains of Wonder: San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2005
Page Number: 80, 81, Figure Number: 25


Inscription, On front:

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