The Dance of the Hindu God Krishna and the Female Cowherds, from a History of the Lord (Bhagavata Purana) \r\nmanuscript Artist: Unknown

ca. 1760–65

Asian Art

Not on view

The artists’ ingenuity is reflected in this painting of Krishna dancing with the female cowherds of Vrindavan in northern India. At first glance, the image might be interpreted as showing Krishna having multiplied himself to dance with several women simultaneously. But the image, in fact, depicts the mental world of each cowherd as she believes herself to be the only woman graced by the presence of Krishna and dancing with him under a moonlit sky. The gods, like us, watch this scene with mystification from the clouds; perhaps they join us in admiring the net of illusion ensnaring these women and the artists’ skills in articulating it.


Opaque watercolor and gold on paper


without mounting: 8 7/8 × 13 1/16 in. (22.5 × 33.2 cm)
with mounting: 16 1/8 × 19 11/16 in. (41 × 50 cm)
framed: 16 × 22 in. (40.64 × 55.88 cm)

Credit Line

The Vera M. and John D. MacDonald, B.A. 1927, Collection, Gift of Mrs. John D. MacDonald

Accession Number



Mughal dynasty (1526–1857)


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Vera M. MacDonald and John D. MacDonald, Boston, Mass., by 2001; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2001
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

human figures (visual works)



Technical metadata and APIs


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