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The Hindu deity Krishna as a boy, being scolded by his foster mother for eating mud
Place of Origin: India, Himachal Pradesh state, former kingdom of Kulu
Date: approx. 1750
Materials: Ink, opaque watercolors, and gold on paper
Dimensions: H. 9 3/8 in x W. 6 3/8 in, H. 23.7 cm x W. 16.2 cm
Credit Line: Gift of George Hopper Fitch
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: B86D16
On Display: No

Description

Label: As a child, Krishna was famous for his mischievous pranks, such as stealing butter and twisting the tails of cows, but even in his youth, his divine nature was revealed by miraculous feats like lifting a mountain and defeating powerful demons. Here, baby Krishna (on a lotus) is accompanied by his brother Balarama, as their mother, Yashoda, approaches with an outstretched handkerchief after hearing that Krishna had been eating mud by the river. Krishna proclaimed his innocence and opened his mouth for inspection. Yashoda looked in and saw the entire universe within the child’s mouth. She was terrified by the vision, whereupon Krishna used his divine abilities to make her forget what she had seen.

Krishna is an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. To keep him from being murdered by a usurper, Krishna was taken at birth from his parents and brought to a cowherders' village to be raised by a woman named Yashoda. At first, Krishna's adopted family and friends did not know his true identity, but he periodically performed feats of magic or miracles that revealed his godhood.

In the incident depicted in this painting, Yashoda, Krishna's foster mother, has heard the little boy has been eating mud, so she goes to him with a handkerchief to wash out his mouth. He denies having eaten mud and opens his mouth for her. Yashoda sees the entire universe inside and becomes frightened. (The undulating tree branches and the lightning in this painting suggest Yashoda's state while she is witnessing this miracle.) To calm her, Krishna makes her forget the incident.


Label: As a child, Krishna was famous for his mischievous pranks, such as stealing butter and twisting the tails of cows, but even in his youth, his divine nature was revealed by miraculous feats like lifting a mountain and defeating powerful demons. Here, baby Krishna (on a lotus) is accompanied by his brother Balarama, as their mother, Yashoda, approaches with an outstretched handkerchief after hearing that Krishna had been eating mud by the river. Krishna proclaimed his innocence and opened his mouth for inspection. Yashoda looked in and saw the entire universe within the child’s mouth. She was terrified by the vision, whereupon Krishna used his divine abilities to make her forget what she had seen.

Krishna is an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. To keep him from being murdered by a usurper, Krishna was taken at birth from his parents and brought to a cowherders' village to be raised by a woman named Yashoda. At first, Krishna's adopted family and friends did not know his true identity, but he periodically performed feats of magic or miracles that revealed his godhood.

In the incident depicted in this painting, Yashoda, Krishna's foster mother, has heard the little boy has been eating mud, so she goes to him with a handkerchief to wash out his mouth. He denies having eaten mud and opens his mouth for her. Yashoda sees the entire universe inside and becomes frightened. (The undulating tree branches and the lightning in this painting suggest Yashoda's state while she is witnessing this miracle.) To calm her, Krishna makes her forget the incident.