Yashoda Binds Krishna’s Hands: Page from a Dispersed Bhagavata Purana Manuscript

In a futile attempt to keep him from stealing butter, Krishna’s foster mother, Yashoda, ties the god to a wooden mortar. Due to Krishna’s miraculous nature, she was originally thwarted, as the rope was always too short no matter how much of it was supplied by the Gopis (cowherdesses); in the end, Krishna took pity and allowed himself to be bound under the flowering arjuna trees. It is unusual that the figures of Krishna and Yashoda are quite small and do not stand out among the Gopis clutching strands of rope. The representation of these figures on stacked registers follows pictorial conventions established earlier in the Jain illustrated manuscript tradition.

Ink and opaque watercolor on paper


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Metropolitan Museum of Art

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