19 September 2002
The Love of Radha and Krishna, Jayadeva Gitagovinda
Leporello of thick yellow paper with its own ends as covers consisting of 98 sides with 6 blank verses at end and split into two parts at fold between 26 and 27 (recto), sides 1 and 2 depicting the avatars of Vishnu; inscribed in Newari and dated [Nepalese era] 858, Asvina badi 10 = A.D. 1738/9, and inscribed in Sanskrit and Newari in the post-colophon; complete; illustrated on sides 1 and 2 with the ten avatars of Vishnu
3 1/8 x 8 1/8 in. (8.0 x 20.7 cm.)
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Manuscripts from the Himalayas and the Indian Subcontinent, Sam Fogg Rare Books, 1996, cat. 17, no. 24.
The Gitagovinda of Jayadeva is one of the most appealing works of Indian lyrical poetry consisting of a series of hymns to the beauty of Radha and to the intensity of the love of between Krishna and Radha. The narrative centers around Radha's jealousy and abandonment of Krishna and their eventual reconciliation. The story consequently serves as an allegory of the love between devotee and deity and characterizes the human attainment to join and become one with the divine.
Jayadeva was the son of the court poet of the Laksmanasena dynasty of Bengal, who led an itinerant ascetic life for some years before marrying and composing his masterpiece in the 12th century. His work imports the vitality of popular dance-songs into the tradition of courtly poetry while respecting and utilizing the conventions of the latter.
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