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Karna Slays a Demon - 1670 Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

Aurangzeb 1658–1707



Karna Slays a Demon - 1670

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper H: 11.8 W: 16.6 cm

Probably Seringapatam, South India, India


                   This charged scene is from the Mahabharata (Great Story of the Bharatas), a sacred Hindu epic of ancient India that narrates the great war between two related clans, the Pandavas and the Kauravas. In this scene Karna, mightiest warrior of the Kauravas, slays Ghatotkacha, the giant demon of the Pandavas. On the right, the blue-skinned god Krishna drives the chariot for the Pandava hero Arjuna. Although the artist of this Mahabharata adopted the sharp noses and large, oval eyes of the Vijayanagara court tradition, his style is unique. The figures, which exhibit rounded contours and emphatic modeling, are charged with energy. Before paper was introduced into India, manuscripts were written on palm leaves. The horizontal format of this page preserves the shape of a trimmed palm leaf. The text is in Sanskrit, the "refined" ancient literary language of India.

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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.


The Mughal Images immediately took a much greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian miniatures. Animals and plants were the main subject of many miniatures for albums and were more realistically depicted. To upload your images click here.

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