Krishna Defeats Trinavarta, the Demon Whirlwind, from a Bhagavata Purana (Book of the Lord)


Historical period(s)
ca. 1520
Pre-Mughal School
Opaque watercolor and ink on paper
H x W: 18.4 x 23.9 cm (7 1/4 x 9 7/16 in)
India, North India, Delhi-Agra
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


Bhagavata Purana, child, demon, Gopi, India, Krishna, WWII-era provenance

To 1987
Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd., New York City, to 1987 [1]

From 1987
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd. in 1987


[1] According to Terence McInerney, this object once belonged to Wilfred Blunt, the curator of the Leighton Museum in Surrey. McInerney conjectures the following provenance for the object: probably Roerich family collection, New Delhi (circa 1955 or earlier); Wilfred Blunt, Surrey, England (circa 1965 or earlier); private collection, England (see Curatorial Note 10 in object record).

Previous Owner(s)

Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd.


The classic Hindu scripture Bhagavata Purana (Book of the Lord), extols the god Vishnu as the supreme lord of the universe. Composed in the Sanskrit language around 900, the text describes the many incarnations of Vishnu; including Krishna. This particular manuscript relates tales of Krishna's childhood. The blue-skinned Krishna appears twice: first swept up in the whirlwind, which is actually the demon Trinavarta, and then, after wrestling free, standing unharmed before his mother and the adoring cowherd girls.

Published References
  • John Seyller. The Adventures of Hamza: Painting and Storytelling in Mughal India. Washington. cat. 1, p. 55.
  • John Seyller in association with the Freer Gallery of Art. Workshop and Patron in Mughal India: The Freer Ramayana and Other Illustrated Manuscripts of 'Abd al-Rahim. Supplementum 42, Zurich and Washington. p. 18, fig. 1.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court. Exh. cat. Washington, 1981. pp. 46-49.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 4B, p. 49.
  • B.N. Goswamy. The Spirit of Indian Painting: Close Encounters with 101 Great Works, 1100-1900. Gurgaon, Haryana, India. p. 144.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum