- Other Title
- Krishna greeting Balarama in a forest watched by Nanda, gopis and cowherds
- Place where the work was made
- circa 1800
- Media category
- Materials used
- opaque watercolour on paper
- 22.5 x 32.3 cm image; 29.0 x 39.0 sheet
- Gift of Dr Jim Masselos 2021
- Lower Asian gallery
- Accession number
Balarama is the older brother of Krishna. Here on the river bank the brothers clasp hands in greeting. The left of the painting depicts the gopis (milkmaids) of the cowherding village in which the brothers grew up, while the treasured cows leap into the frame on the right. The scene is from the Bhagavata Purana, a Hindu text focussing on devotion to Krishna (an avatar of the god Vishnu). Balarama and Krishna’s mother was Devaki, sister of the evil king Kamsa. When a prophecy predicted he would be killed by Devaki’s eighth child, Kamsa committed to killing any children she bore. After Balarama was conceived, Vishnu had the baby transferred from Devaki’s womb to that of Rohini. He was brought up by cow-herding foster parents in Vrindavan. Later, when Krishna was born, he too was spirited away to live in Vrindavan. Krishna can be recognised by his blue skin while Balarama is dressed in red.
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Indo- Asian Art from the John Gilmore Ford Collection, Walters Art Gallery, 1971 -–1971
Intimate Encounters: Indian paintings from Australian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2007–04 May 2007
Elemental, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Jul 2022–2024
Referenced in 2 publications
Jim Masselos, Divine and courtly life in Indian painting, Sydney, 1991. cat no. 14.4
Sotheby's London (Editor), Catalogue of oriental miniatures and manuscripts. The property of John Gilmore Ford and other properties., London, 02 Jul 1984. lot 117
Maharaja of Datia, pre 1947, Datia/Madhya Pradesh/India, seal of the Maharaja on verso.
John Gilmore Ford, pre 1984, Baltimore/Maryland/United States of America
Sotheby's London, 02 Jul 1984, London/England, offered for sale as the property of John Gilmore Ford.
Jim Masselos, 05 Jul 1984-2021, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, purchased through Margaret Tyler c/o Maggs Bros Ltd. Donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2021.