Srinathji surrounded by svarups and attended by priests

Description

This Indian miniature painting shows Krishna in the form of Srinathji being worshipped and attended to by priests. The painting dates to c. 1770–1780 and was painted in Faizabad or Lucknow in Northern India.

The painting

This 18th-century painting depicts Krishna in the form of Srinathji. The worship of Srinathji centres on the village of Nathdwara, near Udaipur, where a revered image of Srinathji, discovered by the Hindu saint Vallabhacharya (1479–1531), is installed. The painting shows Srinathji in the centre, surrounded by nine svarups, or other forms of Krishna. The deities are adorned with garlands of flowers and wear headdresses fashioned of cow’s ears (gokarna) and peacock feathers. As is common of images of Srinathji he is shown standing with one hand raised to the sky in reference Krishna protecting his friends and their cow herds from a storm sent by Indra.

Surrounding the deities are priests performing their rituals and arati (fire ritual) with oil lamps. Baskets of food including rice and pan (folded betel leaves) are laid out as offering to Srinathji as part of puja (worship) ceremonies.

Why is it interesting?

The painting is notable for its depiction of all of the principle images of the Vallabhacharya sect, which in reality are scattered around Braj, Rajasthan and Gujarat, as having been brought together in one shrine.

The painting is also interesting as it is an Avadhi interpretation of early Nathdwara paintings, with the artist taking inspiration from the local architecture of Faizabad or Lucknow in their depiction of the buildings in the paintings – Srinathji is shown installed in a large Mughal style mansion or pavilion with domed chhatris and painted floral decorations rather than a Hindu temple complex or shrine.

Full title:
Srinathji surrounded by svarups and attended by priests, 18th century
Created:
c. 1770–1780
Format:
Watercolour
Usage terms

Public Domain. Please consider cultural, religious & ethical sensitivities when re-using this material.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Johnson 51,4

Full catalogue details

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