Vishnu killing a tyrant, c. 1695, Basohli, Pahari (Private Collection)



Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham

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Gouache with gold. Narrow black inner rule, red-orange border. Short inscriptions at top in takri and 9 lines of descriptive text on reverse. 18.4 x 27 cm. Basohli, a powerful Rajput state in the Punjab Hill region, resisted Mughal influence until the last quarter of the seventeenth century. Founded around 765, the state was ruled by the Balauria clan, which traced its ancestry through the Pandavas, mythical heroes of the Mahabharata. The colours and compositions of Basohli paintings may reflect Nepalese prototypes. The palettes glow with red, orange, and mustard yellow, contrasted with icy blue and white. Figures are expressively distorted in form. Narasimha Avatara: The Man-lion incarnation of Vishnu appearing from a pillar to disembowel the blasphemous king Hiranya-kasipu with broken sword and dislodged turban, on the left, the king's pious son Prahlada, on the right his wife in attitude of reverence. Must be one of a set of incarnations of Vishnu. The style of painting is close to that of the artist Devidasa who painted the 'third' Rasamanjari series in Basohli in 1695.


Miniature Painting: Pahari, Basohli style, paintings, miniatures, slide set





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