The Great Mysore Bhagavata- Complete Study of a Manuscript from the Binney Collection in The San Diego Museum of Art
|320 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
At each step the painters seem to have been aware of the importance of the text itself. For the Purana they were engaging with has a very special place in the heart of devotees, there being the belief that the Bhagavata 'is equal in status to the Veda'. 'Those who have drunk with their ears even a single syllable of the story of the Bhagavata are freed from the cycle of birth and death', it has been said. The narrative in their hands, therefore, remains not simply an absorbing narrative, but can be seen immersed in bhakti-devotion-that is the leitmotif of this Purana. The scope of the volume is restricted to the second half of the Tenth Book of the Purana in which the winsome childhood and the seductive growing years of Krishna get left out but as a devotee one is led into a different world, Here the city of Dwarka is founded, a fierce contest with the bear King Jambavana is fought, the Khandava SSINS burnt down, the great fortress of Narakasurans attacked and vanquished, the evor Hastinapura is dragged to the waters, great pilgrimages are undertaken, hordes of enslaved princes are freed, Shishupala is slain Jarasandha is riven. Wide-eyed, one sees wonders piling upon majestic wonders.
Professor Goswamy has taught as Visiting Professor at different universities in Europe and the US. He has also written extensively, Among his most widely followed works have been: Pahari Painting: The Family as the Basis of Style (Mumbal, 1968); The Essence of Indian Art (San Francisco, 1986); Pahari Masters: Court Painters of Northern India (with E. Fischer, Zurich, 1992); Nainsukh of Guler: A great Indian Painter from a small Hill State, (Zurich, 1997); Domains of Wonder: Selected Masterworks of Indian Painting (with C. Smith, San Diego, 2005); and The Spirit of Indian Painting: Close Encounters with 101 Great Works (2014).
South Asian paintings. They began the inspiration the Museum's Committee the Arts Indian Subcontinent (now the South Arts Council). particular, this Jas Grewal and Suren Dutia.
Particular thanks also due staff the Museum: Feldman for managing the project, Hilliard James and Cory Woodall for photography.
The Maharaja of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar II, commissioned this manuscript of a sacred Hindu text dedicated to the exploits of Krishna during the latter part of his life on earth. The text is Sanskrit, written in the local Kannada script: the descriptive captions in red are written in the Kannada language, which is spoken in south-western India. Although not complete. there are 215 illustrations on 218 folios. Had the manuscript been finished, these lavishly illustrated pages would have also all been embellished with gold.
Although little remains known of the royal atelier of the Wodeyar rajas of Mysore, this manuscript is testament to a flourishing school of painting that was unusually ambitious in its compositions. One example is the incredible scene of Balarama uprooting the city of Hastinapura with a monumental plow that spans both pages from top left to bottom right, and lifts the unfortunate city off its foundations and beyond the borders of the illustration, where it is. cast into the river Ganges.
Over the past years most original Indian manuscripts have been unbound, the paintings separated from their original texts and sold individually to collectors worldwide. Here, in its original and unique splendor, the Mysore Bhagavata manuscript retains its glory in its intended state as a bound volume. a source of study, inspiration, and personal reflection.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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