Krishna, Radha and Yamuniji Dance in the Lotus Ponds of the Yamuna
Kota or Nathdwara, Rajasthan, circa 1840
Pigments on cotton heightened with silver and gold
215 x 225 cm
Krishna plays his magical flute amongst a web of lotus blossoms. Their stems twist across the painting’s surface, surrounding Krishna, Radha and Yamuniji with lush green leaves, pink-tipped petals and buzzing insects. The background is a soft blue, evoking the cool waters of the Yamuna river.
Pichhvais decorated with lotuses are used in the summer months, particularly during the festival of Gangadashmi. Their cooling tones of blue, pink and green transport the devotee from the scorching heat of the Rajasthani summer to the waters of the Yamuna, where Krishna would go to cool off and play with the gopis.
Krishna is depicted here as Gokulachandramaji (‘the moon of Gokula), playing his flute in tribhanga pose, his body elegantly twisting in three places. While Srinathji is the principal incarnation of Krishna according to the Pushti Marg, there are other forms (swarupas) that are also worshipped, their icons housed in other temple complexes. Gokulachandramaji, a wooden image, is situated in Kamavana, Vraj, near Agra. The hypnotic music entrances his consorts Radha and Yamuniji. The blue skinned personification of the river Yamuna, Yamuniji is the patron goddess of the Pushti Marg.
This pichhvai shows the influence of court painting from the kingdom of Kota. The faces of the women are typical of the Kota style during the first half of the nineteenth century, with arching brows and strong profiles. The figure painting is fine and expressive, executed with rich and varied pigments. There was considerable stylistic exchange between Kota and Nathdwara during the nineteenth century, as the Hara Rajputs, the rulers of Kota and Bundi, became ardent followers of the Pushti Marg. It is in these regions that there are the most Srinathji temples outside Nathdwara.
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