- Museum number
Album drawing. Pen and ink wash on paper. Viṣṇu reclines on the five-hooded serpent Śeṣa. His right arm is bent upwards near his head. In his left hand he carries his sharanga (the bow). The goddesses Bhudevi and Śri sit at his head and feet, the latter massaging his feet. From Viṣṇu’s navel sprouts a lotus, revealing the seated Brahmā at its centre. Below this reclining figure are three standing figures, Viṣṇu flanked by his two consorts. In his upper right hand he carries the chakra (discus) and in his upper left the shankha (conch). His lower right hand is in abhaya mudra: the lower left rests on the gada (mace).
- Production date
Height: 22.80 centimetres (page)
Width: 19 centimetres (page)
- Curator's comments
- Dallapiccola 2010:
The standing figures could possibly represent the mula murti enshrined in the Sharangapani (locally known as Sarangapani) temple at Kumbakonam.
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)