A Kota Ruler as Krishna's Form Brijnathi Hunts by Moonlight
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.