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Contemporary art

Asian art

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Krishna's brother Balarama in tree with an elephant below

circa 1980s


Unknown Artist


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.


Other Title

Celestial being in tree with axe

Place where the work was made

Madhubani Bihar 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


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history