A PICHVAI DEPICTING RASALILA
A PICHVAI DEPICTING RASALILA
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A PICHVAI DEPICTING RASALILA

INDIA, RAJASTHAN, NATHDWARA, 19TH CENTURY

Details
A PICHVAI DEPICTING RASALILA
INDIA, RAJASTHAN, NATHDWARA, 19TH CENTURY
81 x 71 ¾ in. (205.7 x 182.2 cm.)

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Hannah Perry
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Lot Essay

The Rasalila is the dance of love between Krishna and the gopis, in which Krishna uses his heavenly powers to multiply himself so that, though they link arms and dance in a circle, each gopi feels that she alone is the focus of his attention, thus fulfilling the bhakti each maiden feels for Krishna.
Pichvais, meaning "to hang behind," are large paintings on cloth created for rituals celebrating the life of Krishna, and served as backdrops in temples behind statues of the blue-skinned god, particularly for images of Krishna as Shri Nathji, a svarup recalling when Krishna lifted Mount Govardhan. The subjects of pichvais range from worship of Shri Nathji, to festivals such as Gopashtami and Sarat Purnima, to bhakti, the love a devotee feels for Krishna. This is demonstrated in the games he plays with the gopis, such as the Dana Lila or the Rasamandala. Pichvai are native to Rajasthan, where several sects of Krishna and devotees are located, most notably the Pushtimarg sect. At prominent temples, such as the Pushtimarg Haveli at Nathdwara, pichvais were produced year round for festivals and daily worship.
Another pichvai painting of this subject sold at Christie's New York, 21 September 2007, lot 313 for $79,000.

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