Title: Krishna massaging the feet of Radha, a scene possibly from the Gita Govinda
Creator: India, Punjab Hills, Mankot School
Date Created: India, Rajput Court Painting (ca 1500-1900)
Physical Dimensions: w20.3 x h26.7 mm (work)
Label Copy: Krishna, the cowherd of Vrindavan, was one of human manifestations of the Hindu god Vishnu. Precocious and naughty as a child, he grew to overcome many obstacles and conquer ferocious demons to save himself and his tribe. The love affair between Krishna and his favorite gopi (cowgirl), Radha, is a common theme in north Indian painting. Their passionate relationship is a metaphor for the unquenchable love of the soul for the supreme god. As seen here, it is not always Radha who is in a subservient position in this love affair: often Radha is proud and aloof, and it is Krishna who is the ardent wooer.
Mankot, where this work was done, is one of the small hill states in northern India. The bold design, intense color, and jewel-encrusted effect (accomplished by the use of beetle thorax casings) are all characteristic of hill painting of the early eighteenth century—as is the stirring combination of fiery passion and dignified reserve.