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Lot 1867

Episode from the Kṛṣṇa Legend and Illustration to the Sukamāla Legend

Estimated Value:

1.500 € - 2.500 €


971 € incl. Premium and VAT


Rajasthan, ca. 19th c.
28 x 37,5 und 24,5 x 33,2 cm
I: An episode from the Kṛṣṇa legend, which cannot be further identified, is depicted in a completing mode of representation, i.e. the storyline consisting of several episodes is shown on a single picture surface. A small child, who can be identified with some certainty as the Hindu deity Kṛṣṇa by body colour, forehead markings and nimbus, is held in the arms first by a man, then by a woman. The third sequence of images shows Kṛṣṇa lying on the ground and sucking on his toe enclosed by a tendril of leaves. The painting refers to the motif of the god Kṛṣṇa as the lord of the banyan leaf, which is one of the popular and well-known motifs of Kṛṣṇaitic folk piety and shows the god as a small kund lying on his back and sucking his toe on a floating leaf of the banyan tree. II: An inscription at the top of the picture names the scene depicted as śrī sukamāla ji ki tasvīr ("Image of Sukamāla), referring to the conversion story Sukamāla Cariu of Vibudha Śrīdhara written in Apabhramsha in the early 13th century. The story of Sukamāla is depicted here in a completing painting style, i.e. the storyline consisting of several episodes is shown on a single picture surface. The left half of the picture is filled by the schematic representation of a building. In the largest room, Sukamāla is resting on a couch, surrounded by numerous rooms inhabited by women. As the main character of the story, Sukamāla, who in the further course of the plot escapes from the building and rappels down the right side to do so, is shown enlarged compared to the other characters. At the top right, Sukamāla is depicted in a temple. He first bows before a jinabildnis and thus renounces the world; he then removes his clothes and stands before the shrine as a naked digambara monk. Below right, Sukamāla is depicted in standing asceticism (Sanskrit: kayotsarga) under a tree while being attacked by wild animals. This scene is reminiscent of the Jinal legend, in which Mahāvīra perseveres despite violent disturbances to his asceticism and thereby attains omniscience.
From an important private collection in northern Germany, collected mainly in India from the early 1950s until the 1980s