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A gold chintz pichhavai of Krishna
A gold chintz pichhavai of Krishna

INDIA, 18TH CENTURY

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A gold chintz pichhavai of Krishna
India, 18th Century
With Krishna standing on a lotus flowerhead playing the flute under the sacred Kadamba tree, adorned with an elaborate garland with beaded festoons, flanked on either side by three gopis bearing tributes, beneath an alley of trees inhabited by numerous birds on a blue ground scattered with flowers, with palanquins pulled by mythical animals centered by the sun, all above a composite floral scroll with leafy tendrils interspersed with peacocks, richly highlighted in gold overall
74 x 79 in. (190 x 200 cm.)

Lot Essay

This is an exceptionally fine example of such large paintings on cotton depicting Krishna or scenes from his life. They were associated with a special cult of Krishna worship known as Vallabhacharya, fusing abstract metaphysical concepts derived from Vedanta philosophy with more lively aspects of human love through elaborate rituals. Pichhavai literally means "something at the back", as it would have been hung behind the principal image in a shrine and would function as a kind of stage setting. Compare another example at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, in Asiatic Art in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 1982, cat. no. 181, where it is stated that the dark blue background might relate to the rainy season and therefore specifically have been used for Krishnas birthday around that time.
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