Krishna, one of the ten avatars (manifestations) of the Hindu god Vishnu, was raised by humble foster parents in a cow-herding village near the forest of Vrindavan. There he spent much of his youth enchanting the gopis (female cowherds) with the celestial sounds of his flute playing. They all pined for the Krishna, but it was Radha who would become his favorite. She and the blue-skinned deity are the centerpiece of this remarkable painting created in or near Kangra, home to the court of Raja Sansar Chand (r. 1775–1823) and a renowned family of painters. It shows the colorful celebration of the springtime festival Holi. Many of the revelers spray each other with tinted water, while others dance and play music. Krishna, wearing his characteristic yellow dhoti (unstitched cloth) and peacock-feather crown, has eyes only for Radha, however. Their passionate, mutual devotion is a symbol of the union of the human and the divine.
- Yael Rice, 2015
celebrations; figures; Hinduism; holidays; red; religion; symbolism; water
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