LOT 131 An Illustration from a Mahabharata Series: Arjuna demonstrates his martial prowess in a tournament School of Purkhu, Kangra, circa 1820-30
Translation provided by Youdao
342 x 477 mm.
An Illustration from a Mahabharata Series: Arjuna demonstrates his martial prowess in a tournament School of Purkhu, Kangra, circa 1820-30
gouache and gold on paper, red border, identifying inscriptions in devanagari script, verso sketches of groups of noblemen 342 x 477 mm.
|In this illustration, the Kauravas and the Pandavas have congregated in the palace for a tournament and are watching the feats of Arjuna, one of the five Pandava brothers who was famed for his archery skills. In the upper chamber the blind King Dhristarashtra is seen in conversation with Vidura, Bhishma and other elders. A folio from the same series which illustrates the following scene was featured in Christie's, Indian and Southeast Asian Art, New York, 17th September 1999, Lot 264. This depicts Karna undertaking and completing the same feats in the tournament after Arjuna, angering him and marking the beginning of their rivalry.Compositions dominated by architecture, particularly with strong diagonals and chambers which appear to float as in the present lot, are typical of works ascribed to Purkhu. B.N. Goswamy and Eberhard Fischer tell us that one of Purkhu's patrons was Maharajah Sansar Chand (c. 1725-1823) and that according to the traveller William Moorcroft who stayed with the Maharajah in 1820 a great deal of Sansar Chand's collection was concerned with "the performances and prowess of Arjun" and that these paintings often had complex perspective and several representations of the same act in one painting, as is true for the present example. (Pahari Masters, 1992, p. 371-2) Two further illustrations from the same series were sold in Christie's, Arts of India, 25th May 2017, Lots 66 and 67. Another example is published in P. Pal, Pleasure Gardens of the Mind, 1993, no. 17.
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