Three women and two drummers before a shrine to Krishna.
Watercolour of three women and two drummers before a shrine to Krishna, by an anonymous artist working in the Manipur style, c. 1870. Inscribed: 'Dancing before a Hindu God.'
Krishna is one of the incarnations of Vishnu and is one of the most popular figures in Indian mythology. The cult of Krishna can be traced back to the early centuries AD. His personality is very complex and he is revered in several forms that represent different periods of his life. He is often depicted as a mischievous god-child, a cowherd who cavorts with the gopis (milkmaids) and a pastoral deity who plays the flute, to name but a few. The Bhagavata Purana and the Gita Govinda are epic tales that recount the life of Krishna and his many exploits; they have been illustrated countless times throughout history. In this drawing he is depicted as a blue figure that is being transported on a rath (chariot or temple car) used to carry shrines in processions.