Indian Pichwai Painting

c. 1930
$2,480 USD
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W: 47.0" D: 1.25" H: 35.0"
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Pichwai is a form of Indian folk art that originated over 400 years ago in the temple town of Nathdwara, Rajasthan. The term “Pichwai” is from the Sanskrit words "Pichh," meaning back, and "wais," meaning hanging, referring to how these artworks were often hung behind the temple deity. Pichwai paintings were primarily created to depict the life and teachings of Lord Krishna, though they often celebrated different seasons and festivals.

This large pichwai painting from the early 20th century is a beautiful continuation of this traditional art form. Surrounded by richly dressed guests, lavish furnishing and delectable food and beverages, stands Lord Krishna, characteristically depicted with blue skin and a yellow loincloth (dhoti). The figures surrounding Lord Krishna are collectively known as gopis, the life-long devotees of Lord Krishna. They are said to exemplify suddha-bhakti which is described as the highest form of unconditional love for Lord Krishna.

Gopis are considered an expansion of the goddess Radha, the chief consort of Krishna and likely portrayed here as the figure wrapped in Krishna's arms. The group is engaging in a lively dance with drums, cymbals and stringed instruments, set in an idyllic courtly garden landscaped with flowers and trees. The use of a water gun (pichkari) by one of the gopis leads us to believe this depicts a celebration of the Hindu festival Holi, symbolizing the playful and joyful nature of Lord Krishna.

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