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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Bhimsen, Indian
A Kota Ruler as Krishna's Form Brijnathi Hunts by Moonlight
Work Type
Creation Place: South Asia, India, Rajasthan, Kota
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Opaque watercolor, gold and metallic pigment on paper; Rajput Style, Kota School.
22.4 x 27.5 cm (8 13/16 x 10 13/16 in.)
framed: 38.42 x 48.58 x 2.22 cm (15 1/8 x 19 1/8 x 7/8 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Stuart Cary Welch, Jr. in memory of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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This painting depicts, on a moonlit night, Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu who is worshipped as a god in his own right, hunting. He hunts with a matchlock gun from within a small enclosure accompanied by gopis (milkmaids), who also participate in the sport. In front of the enclosure, is an artificial watering hole, which has drawn an unsuspecting herd of deer. The lush landscape is filled with other animals that were commonly hunted in Rajasthan, including tiger, black buck deer, and boar.

The depiction of Krishna refers to Brijnathji, a local form of Krishna that was the family deity of the royal family of Kota. Brijnathji is frequently rendered either accompanying a ruler or participating in Kota courtly activities, conflates the deity with the ruler, fostering the concept of the “divine king”, and demonstrates a direct relationship between the king and god. Rajput Style, Kota School.

Publication History

Stuart Cary Welch and Milo Cleveland Beach, Gods, Thrones, and Peacocks Northern Indian Painting from Two Traditions, exh. cat., Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1965), page 95/figure 57

Milo Cleveland Beach, Rajput Painting at Bundi and Kotah, Artibus Asiae Publishers (Ascona, Switzerland, 1974), p. 37; pl. LXXXVI, fig. 92

Naveen Patnaik and Stuart Cary Welch, A Second Paradise: Indian Courtly Life, 1590-1947, Doubleday & Co. (Garden City, NY, 1985), page 96, 182/figure 31

Exhibition History

Hot as Curry - Subtle as Moonlight: Masterpieces of Rajput Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/02/1991 - 12/20/1991

Indian Harvest: Part 2, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/17/1996 - 04/28/1996

Rajasthani Miniatures: The Welch Collection at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, The Drawing Center, New York, 04/16/1997 - 06/07/1997

A Decade of Collecting: Recent Acquisitions of Islamic and Later Indian Art, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 06/08/2000 - 09/03/2000

The Sport of Kings: Art of the Hunt in Iran and India, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/22/2005 - 06/26/2005

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at