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Krishna Demands a Toll, c. 1825

India: Himachal Pradesh, Kangra or Uttaranchal, Garhwal, 1800-1850
Opaque watercolor on paper
image: 9-1/8 x 7-1/8 in. (23.2 x 18.1 cm); sheet: 11-3/4 x 9-3/4 in. (29.9 x 24.8 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Ramesh and Urmil Kapoor
© Norton Simon Museum

Not on view

This encounter between the blue-skinned Krishna and his consort, Radha, is a variation on the theme of dana lila, or “gift play.” Radha, dressed as an officer, threatens to take Krishna into custody for making cheeky comments towards her and her female companions.

A city looms large in the painting’s background. Architectural details such as pierced-stone screens and railings and balcony spaces are clearly discernible against pink and white walls. In the shadow of this urban space, the lovers exercise a coy restraint, while two of Krishna’s companions gaze at the couple knowingly.

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