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Krishna attacks Naraka’s capital

Creation date: ca. 1540
Creation place: India

Other Information

Type: Watercolor Painting
Medium and Support: Opaque watercolor on paper
Credit Line: Edwin Binney 3rd Collection
Accession Number: 1990.581
State/Province: Rajasthan
Dimensions: 6 13/16 in. x 9 3/16 in. (17.3 cm x 23.3 cm)


Heeramaneck Galleries, New York, New York ( - April 29, 1965)

Edwin Binney 3rd, San Diego, California (April 29, 1965 - August 27, 1990)

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

Label Copy

Recounted in the tenth book of the Bhagavata Purana, the exploits of Krishna have been and are a great source of inspiration for the Indian artist. Countless illustrated versions of the story were prepared in all parts of the subcontinent. Both the present manuscript and the Mysore volume that is also in the exhibition use the standard Sanskrit text. Known for its inventive compositions, vigorous movement, and intense pure colors, the Palam Bhagavata Purana is the earliest known series. The original number of leaves may have been as great as three hundred; around two hundred survive. The nefarious Naraka had stolen Indra's umbrella (one of the insignia of his sovereignty) and Aditi's earrings and evicted Indra from Mount Mandara and was holed up in his castle at Pragjyotishapura. Krishna was dispatched to put things right and flew in on Garuda along with his favorite wife Satyabhama. The citadel was fortified on all sides with mountains and weapons, a moat, rings of fire, and myriads of dreadful and strong snares laid by the demon Mura. Sri Krishna shattered the mountains with his mace, smashed the fortifications with his arrows, subdued the fire, water, and wind with his discus, and the snares with his sword. He blew down the ramparts, broke the defender with the blasts of his conch, and destroyed the walls with his mace.

October 2005
Domains of Wonder
Scenes from the life of Krishna are depicted in these pages from a sacred Hindu text, which exemplify the indigenous Indian style just prior to the rise of imperial Mughal painting. Throughout his life Krishna overcomes obstacles, such as the tiger who threatened him in his youth. He prepares to vanquish the demon Naraka as he glides over the imaginatively abstract mountains and the moat that surround Naraka's fortified palace, where he holds his prisoners captive on the second storey.
Last Updated: 3/16/2018


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

Myths, Monsters, Maharajas: Introducing the Binney Collection San Diego Museum of Art , 11/23/1991 - 1/26/1992

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:

William George Archer, OBE, MA, D.Litt.. Rajput Miniatures, Portland Art Museum. Portland, Oregon, 1968
Page Number: 1-2, 4, 5, Figure Number: 1c

Indian and Southeast Asian Art Christie's. New York, New York, March 27, 2003
Page Number: 166

Mr. Daniel J. Ehnbom. Indian Miniatures: Hudson Hills Press. New York, New York, 1985
Page Number: 52

Indian and Southeast Asian Art, Christie's. New York, New York, September 23, 2004
Page Number: 116 lot no. 164

Indian & Southeast Asian Art, Sotheby's. New York, New York, September 24, 2004
Page Number: 98 Lot no. 105

Brijinder Nath Goswamy and Dr. Caron Smith. Domains of Wonder: San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2005
Page Number: 50, 51, Figure Number: 11

Dr. Milo Cleveland Beach and Brijinder Nath Goswamy. Masters of Indian Painting: 1100-1650 Artibus Asiae Publishers. Zurich, 2011
Page Number: 79, Figure Number: fig 11, p. 85

Ms. Marika Sardar and Ms Neeraja Poddar. Epic Tales from Ancient India San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2016
Page Number: 34, Figure Number: fig. 12


Inscription, On reverse:

Inscription, On front: sa nana ["made by Nana"?]; hiarbai.

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