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Title

Krishna's brother Balarama in tree with an elephant below

circa 1980s


Artists

Unknown Artist


About

For centuries, Hindu women around Madhubani, in the Mithila region of Bihar, India, have decorated the walls of their village homes with vivid paintings to ward off evil, mark festivals, and commemorate passage rites. This longstanding tradition, however, remained largely unknown to outsiders until the late 1960s, when a severe drought, lasting up to two years, had a devastating impact on the region’s predominantly agrarian society. To provide the community with a non-agriculture-based income, the All India Handicrafts Board then urged the women to create their paintings on paper for commercial purposes and introduced the world to Madhubani or Mithila painting.

Balarama is the elder brother of the blue-skinned Krishna. He is regarded as the incarnation of the cosmic snake Sesa, or the ninth incarnation of the god Vishnu. Balarama is depicted holding a ploughshare in his right hand, an implement that
associates him with agriculture. The elephant below appears threatening, but it is also connected with rain and so may be a good omen for the deity.


Details


Other Title

Celestial being in tree with axe


Place where the work was made

Madhubani Bihar India


Date

circa 1980s


Media category

Drawing


Materials used

pen and ink on paper


Dimensions

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


Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Credit

Gift of Claudia Hyles 1999


Accession number

78.1999



Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history