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An image of Krishna's brother Balaram in tree with elephant below by

Madhubani, Bihar, India

Krishna's brother Balaram in tree with elephant below
Other titles:
Celestial being in tree with axe
Place of origin
Cultural origin
Madhubani or Mithila painting
Contemporary (Adivasi, tribal or folk) circa 1950 - onwards → India
circa 1980s
Media category
Materials used
pen and ink on paper

72.7 x 53.0 cm sight; 73.9 x 94.0 x 1.7 cm frame

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Claudia Hyles 1999
Accession number
© Copyright reserved
Not on display
Further information

In 1967 a relief project to alleviate the effects of drought and famine in India's north west had village artists reproduce traditional wall and floor paintings on paper for sale. This launched the style known as Madhubani paintings, this work is an example of this. Women have for centuries marked the inner and outer walls of their houses to mark auspicious occasions, rituals and festivals. Rooms typically decorated include the room for the family goddess or deity, the 'honeymoon' room for newly married couples and the verandah outside the honeymoon room.

This painting includes the typical subject matter of gods and goddesses surrounded by symbols of prosperity and fertility such as an elephant, fish, parrot, turtle, peacock, bamboo, lotus, flowers and creepers. The images are contained within geometric borders. The linear and two dimensional designs are done in black ink filled in with bright colour washes with no space left empty.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, April 1999.

Exhibition history (1)

Indian Folk Paintings and Textiles, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 29 May 2004–04 Jul 2004