• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12471

    Arts of India

    26 May 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 81

    A SUMMER LOTUS PICCHVAI

    RAJASTHAN, NORTH INDIA, EARLY 20TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A SUMMER LOTUS PICCHVAI
    RAJASTHAN, NORTH INDIA, EARLY 20TH CENTURY
    Opaque pigments heightened with gold on cotton, of rectangular form, Krishna and Radha standing on a lotus rising from a pond, he embraces her, they gaze at each other lovingly, amidst a dense ground of lotus leaves and flowers, bees flying in between, the borders with a floral garland
    77¼ x 95½ in. (196.3 x 242.6cm.)


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    Lotus Picchvais are used in temples during summer months to create a cool atmosphere in the shrine of Shri Nathji. The backgrounds of lotus flowers help devotees to visualise the banks of the river Yamuna where Krishna grew up. For an illustration of two devotees worshipping Shri Nathji standing in front of a lotus picchvai, see Madhuvanti Gose (ed.), Gates of the Lord, The Tradition of Krishna Paintings, exhibition catalogue, Chicago, 2015, fig.1, p.96. Another was in the Gujral Collection, Germany and is published in Landscapes of the Gods, Picchvais and Miniatures from the Gujral and other Private Collections, Prahlad Bubbar, 2013, cat.8. With its meandering lotus stems and the numerous bees flying from flowers to leaves, the present painting recalls the works of the ashtachap poets in which Krishna is compared to a bee and his beloved gopis to lotuses. In the 18th century, it seems that lotus picchvais were block-printed and that painted examples appeared in the 1800s. For a similar picchvai, although with Gokulchandramaji, see Gose, op.cit., cat.38, p.98.