Krishna Playing Holi with Radha and Gopis

$295
Item Code: HL44
Specifications:
Water Color Painting on Paper
13.8 inch X 10.5 inch
Handmade
Handmade
Free delivery
Free delivery
Fully insured
Fully insured
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
Fair trade
Fair trade
This excellent miniature represents Krishna playing Holi with Radha and other Gopis in a terrace pavilion overlooking a plantain garden. As if reflecting the mood of Krishna who is dragging Radha close to his bosom in an attempt to smear her face with ‘gulala’ – coloured powder, the leafs of the plantain trees seem to be entwining each other. Music being traditionally associated with the festival of Holi, two of the Gopis have been portrayed as playing on musical instruments, one on a ‘mradanga’ – double-drum, and the other on ‘jhanjh’ – a flat metal plate used as musical accompaniment since ages and even the most modern orchestra uses a wide range of them.

One of the two other Gopis, perhaps Radha’s closer aides, is busy in loading her pipe with colour-solution, and the other is shooting her pipe at Krishna, perhaps in an effort to get Radha, her ‘sakhi’ – friend, released from Krishna’s grip. As for Radha, she has snatched Krishna’s flute, perhaps with a mind that this will humble down Krishna and he will spare her on condition of returning it to him, though the innocent Radha does not know that the flute is dear to Krishna but Radha is dearer, and he will not let her go for anything. On the contrary, with one of her hands engaged in holding the flute her resistance against Krishna has weakened. This reveals the Vaishnava mysticism. Radha is the devoted soul united with Krishna by her love and dedication, and Krishna, the Par-Brahma – Supreme Being, would not separate her from him for anything whatsoever.

The miniaturist has effectively created the atmosphere of Holi, not only around the figures of Krishna, Radha and Gopis but also beyond in the nature, in the forms of plantain trees and the sky that seems to have soaked deep in pink corresponding to the hue of the face of abashed Radha. Around them lay on the floor jars of coloured water, plates of ‘gulala’ of various colours, one reflecting as fresh and red as fresh roses. The artist has used a broad architecture, with main part – the large terrace hall, constructed of finely worked marble and on sides are other pavilions which massive curtains hung folded normally separated from the main hall. Radha and all Gopis are clad in variedly coloured Mughal style-costume, though Krishna is in his usual ‘pitambara’ – yellow ‘antariya’, a lower wear, and a sash on his shoulder.

Holi is the festival most closely associated with Krishna, perhaps being akin to his basic ideology believing in equality with all in interaction, and the festival of Holi is its epitome. It unites all, bringing even the enemies together. Hence, Holi has not been merely the theme of a number of Krishna-related miniatures but also of a vast body of medieval literature, dozens of poets like Ghanananda devoting the larger part of their poetry to the theme of Krishna playing Holi. Even today, most of the songs that Holi celebrating groups sing in streets are Krishna and Holi related.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.

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