The Legend of Krishna in Wall Paintings of Gujarat and Rajasthan is a comprehensive documentation of the Krishna theme in an art form that is now on the verge of extinction. The exploits of Krishna have been and continue to be a great source of inspiration for the Indian artist. The author Pradip Zaveri has painstakingly collected images from temples, palaces, havelis, mansions, schools and houses during his extensive travels in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
This book explores the Krishna myth in its historical and cultural context. This collection essentially tells the story of Krishna's life as a child and then moves on to his adolescence as a cowherd, followed by his romantic dalliances. It includes paintings that illustrate the deeds of Vishnu and his other avataras.
These wall paintings provide detailed glimpses of the social and cultural life of the people. Sadly this form of artistic representation is on the verge of extinction. In this book Pradip Zaveri preserves for posterity's sake this vibrant tradition that is an integral part of the country's representative art forms.
Pradip Zaveri has always been inter-ested in various art forms, especially Indian paintings. His passion for travelling and photography led him to the interiors of Rajasthan where wall paintings are found in abundance. So, when he observed wall paintings in Kutch, now called Kachchh (Gujarat), his native place, he started photo documenting them. The first photog-raphy exhibition was held at Kutch museum. The Indira Gandhi Manav Sangrahalaya, the Bhopal based museum of mankind, appreciated his work and sponsored many exhibitions and workshops to help create awareness about the now extinct art of wall paintings. Udaipur based West Zone Cultural Centre sponsored his seminal documentation of the damage done to wall paintings in the aftermath of the 2001 earthquake in Kutch. This publication inspired Zaveri to explore and document wall paintings in other regions including north and central Gujarat. His published works include a book on Ramayana in the paintings of Kutch and Paintings of North and Central Gujarat: A Pictorial Journey (Niyogi Books). He lives in Vadodara with his family.
Gujarat and Rajasthan are globally
renowned centres of arts and crafts.
Wall art and paintings in residences have
attracted academia to a larger extent in
recent years. It is worth mentioning that
Shekhavati in Rajasthan is a repository
of mural paintings; and Gujarat is a
preserving den of wall art. Shekhavati is
widely studied by art historians and art
lovers but the wall art in the residences of
Gujarat is less explored.
My earlier work in this field was widely
covered by West Zone Cultural Centre,
Udaipur and Indira Gandhi Rashtriya
Manav Sangrahalaya, Bhopal. Both these
institutions brought out publications on
the photo documentation I carried out
as a wall painting enthusiast on murals
This prompted me to venture into making
of another catalogue based on the Krishna
theme, which is depicted as paintings on
the walls of palaces, temples and mansions
in many pockets of both states.
Krishna, a figure from legends as an
incarnation of Vishnu, a supreme being,
is now for centuries the centre of faith
for millions in the Indian subcontinent.
There is hardly any living being, historical
or mythological, who has so completely
imbued the cultural life of people in India.
Krishna, the dark god, enacting his leelas,
and evoking bhakti rasa in his devotees,
is . the most popular and perhaps among
all Hindu gods the nearest to the heart of
the masses. These leelas are abundantly
depicted in all forms of art especially in
paintings both in miniatures and on walls
of sacred and secular places.
Though the Krishna theme based on
miniature paintings of various schools
has been written about and published
by many experts, authors and critics,
there is no study on the Krishna theme
recounted in various Puranas, including
the tenth chapter of Bhagavata Purana, in
I present my humble efforts in the form of
this collection of images of wall paintings
based on the exploits of Krishna which
have been and are a great source of
inspiration for the Indian artist. This
catalogue constitutes the Krishna myth
in its historical and cultural context.
The daily life and deeds are recounted
as it appears in murals depicted at many
places in the states of Rajasthan and
Gujarat. This catalogue essentially tells
the story of Krishna's life as a child and
then moves on to his adolescence as a
cowherd followed by his romantic alliance
as found depicted in wall paintings in
both these states. Rarely a wall painting is
found depicting Krishna as an epic hero. I
am indebted to scholars and researchers
who have earlier worked on the Krishna
theme in paintings of various schools in
India and whose work has guided me in
this endeavour. For this catalogue, I have
tried to explore as many places as possible
which represent these wall paintings, for
documentation and reproduction. It is
physically impossible to visit all the areas
in both the states where wall paintings
These wall paintings may not be of the
highest calibre but they provide detailed
glimpses of the social and cultural life of
the people. They also tell us about the
people who could afford to paint walls
to make them attractive. The tradition
of painting on walls is still alive in
Rajasthan. It is carried out in temples
and on the outer walls of houses during
festivals and on joyous occasions in the
family. However, in Gujarat the tradition
I am indebted to Prof. Adhya Bharati Saxena,
Department of History, Faculty of Arts, the
Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda
for placing the wall paintings in a catalogue
form as a 'pictorial record of an art form'
which is now on the verge of extinction.
Special thanks to the directors at Indira
Gandhi Manav Sangrahalaya under whose
auspice this catalogue is being published.
I am grateful to them for supporting me
in this endeavour. I am also grateful to
my family members and friends for their
suggestions and their support without
which this catalogue would not have been
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