• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1974

    Indian & Southeast Asian Art

    21 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 721

    An Illustration from the Bhagavata Purana: Gajendra moksha


    Price Realised  


    An Illustration from the Bhagavata Purana: Gajendra moksha
    India, Guler, first quarter 19th century
    Vishnu in his four-armed celestial form standing on the banks of a lake, saving the elephant-king who offers him a lotus from a makara, a star-filled night sky above
    Opaque pigments and gold on wasli
    8½ x 7 1/8 in. (21.5 x 18 cm.)

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    Gajendra moksha means "Liberation of Gajendra" and is a popular tale from the Bhagavata Purana. While bathing in a lotus-filled lake, Gajendra, the king of elephants, disturbed a makara who grabbed his leg and began to pull him under water. Trapped within the makara's strong jaws, Gajendra tried in vain to free himself. As he was about to drown, the elephant-king picked up a lotus with his trunk. Lifting it towards the heavens, he cried, "I offer this to Vishnu, my lord, the refuge of the helpless." Instantly, Vishnu descended from Vaikuntha and liberated Gajendra by striking down the makara with his chakra.

    The Bhagavata Purana narrates the tales of Lord Vishnu and his ten avatars, each of whom must save the world from danger, destroy the wicked and protect the virtuous.

    Pre-Lot Text