- Museum number
Album drawing. Pen and ink wash on paper. Ekapadaśiva, an aspect of Śiva, with four arms, stands on one leg. In his upper right hand he carries the mriga (gazelle) and in his left the damaru (hourglass shaped drum). His lower right hand is in abhaya and the lower left in varada mudra. From Śiva’s left thigh emerges the fourheaded and four-armed Brahma. The god carries a mala (string of beads) in his upper right hand and a book in his left. The lower pair of hands is in anjali mudra. Out of Śiva’s left thigh appears Viṣṇu, carrying the chakra (discus) and shankha (conch) in his upper right and left hands respectively. The lower right is in abhaya and the lower left in varada mudra.
- Production date
Height: 22.80 centimetres (page)
Width: 19 centimetres (page)
- Curator's comments
Ekapadasiva or 'Siva on a single foot'. Name of a Shaivite trimurti (triple image) in which each god - Siva (q.v.), Visnu (q.v.), Brahma (q.v.) - has but one leg and in which the whole composition stands on the single leg of the central figure (Siva).
This album of ninety-nine pen and ink wash drawings is unusual within the British Museum collection as a large proportion (seventy) of its drawings deal with the exploits of Kṛṣṇa. These can be grouped under three headings: the god as naughty child, adolescent hero and lover. The selection of episodes follows, by and large, the narrative of the Bhagavata Purana. A number of scenes, however, are inspired by the oral tradition of the Telugu-speaking area.
Of the remaining twenty-nine drawings, twenty-five illustrate a number of gods, goddesses, mythological incidents and tirthas (place of pilgrimage). The artist or the patron had an eye for unusual murtis: for instance, Vallabhi Vighneshvara (1962,1231,0.12.1), and the five-faced Hanuman (1962,1231,0.12.2) are relatively rare. The last four leaves of the album show architectural drawings, unusual in this type of work.
The artist responsible for this set demonstrates a remarkable control of his medium. His elegant, fluid line and the discreet shading with a pale wash are hallmarks of his style. The technique of indicating three dimensionality using shading may have been introduced by European artists. The majority of the paper is water marked ‘A. Cowen & Sons 1826’, with the last ten sheets watermarked ‘A. Cowen & Sons 1825’.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Transferred from the Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books (OMPB) in 1962.
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1168 (Egerton number)