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Paintings > Hindu > Krishna > Krishna and Balarama Kill the Wrestlers with the Tusks of the Elephant Kuvalayapida
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Krishna and Balarama Kill the Wrestlers with the Tusks of the Elephant Kuvalayapida

Krishna and Balarama Kill the Wrestlers with the Tusks of the Elephant Kuvalayapida

Krishna and Balarama Kill the Wrestlers with the Tusks of the Elephant Kuvalayapida

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10.5 inches X 6.8 inches
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When Kansa invites Krishna and Balarama to Mathura for a great festival, the invitation actually is a ruse to annihilate the two brothers. Towards this end an elephant named Kuvalayapida is first let loose upon them. Not surprisingly, he was no match for Krishna and Balarama. After having slain the creature, the duo uprooted the tusks of the animal, which can be seen in their upraised hands in this painting. Using these tusks, stained pink with the blood of the elephant, as weapons, the brothers here combat two huge wrestlers sent by Kansa, named Chanur and Mushtika. Krishna takes on Chanur while Balarama thrashes Mushtika.

The energied movement of the two brothers is symbolized by their flowing scarves, and the mountainous forms of the two wrestlers seem to succumb to the pressure being applied to their necks by the two heroes. The villains bleed profusely and it is obvious that life is slowly deserting them. The stark background heightens the action packed composition.

This painting is achieved in the Basohli style. The Basohli style of painting, characterized by vigorous use of primary colors and a peculiar facial formula, prevailed in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries in the foothills of the Western Himalayas in the Jammu and Punjab States. The earliest paintings in this style have been dated to the time of Raja Kirpal Pal (1678-93).

This episode occurs in detail in the Shrimad Bhagavata Purana, X.44.


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