Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

Bes

Krishna explaining the importance of trees to gopas

Datia, Central India

Mid 18th century CE

38.2 x 29.3 cms.

Acc. No. L82.2/4

This illustration from the Bhagavata Purana depicts one of the childhood exploits of Krishna. This painting is exclusive as the artist depicts Krishna’s conversation on the importance of trees; a relevant topic even today.

“Have a look at these trees that live only for the welfare of others while they themselves undergo stormy winds, heavy showers, summer heat and snow and save us from it all.

The birth of trees is auspicious as it contributes to the well-being of all creatures. Just as no needy person returns disappointed from the benevolent, so is the case with a person who approaches a tree for shelter.

They fulfill the desires of others by their leaves, flowers, fruits, shade, roots, bark, wood, fragrance, gum, ashes, coal and tender leaves.”

Bhagavata Purana X 22.30-35

Bes

Janamaz (Prayer Mat)

Block Printed and painted on cloth

19th century CE

Acc No 54.7

Prayer mats (janamaz) were made in large numbers in Masulipatnam in Andhra Pradesh and used by the local Muslim community. They were done in the kalamkari technique, which literally means 'pen work' where a bamboo pen or kalam is used to draw freely the design on the cloth. The design is block printed and then is painted in with kalam. This 200 year old janamaz is made up of six pieces from a larger textile and stitched together. The design recalls mosque architecture with its dome and central mihrab.

May object of the month

Common Name: Yellow-footed Green-pigeon

Scientific Name: Treron phoenicopterus

Local Name of the green pigeon is Hariyal or Harial. It is a frugivorous bird feeding on a variety of drupes, berries and wild figs. It inhabits forests, scrubland, parks, and gardens in lowlands and foothills. It is the state bird of Maharashtra.

March 2019 22.1876

Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz. It is a semi-precious stone and has been attributed with powers to soothe the mind and emotions. The name Amethyst means ‘not intoxicated.’ The Greeks used to believe that the gem prevented drunkenness. It is the birthstone of February.

This Amethyst belongs to the Jayme Ribeiro collection, gifted to the Museum in 1921.

March 2019 22.1876

Goddess Kwanon

Ivory

Meiji period

Japan

22.1876

Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection

Goddess Kwanon is the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Originally a male deity, she is said to be derived from the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva of the Mahayana Buddhism in India. When Buddhism travelled to China, it integrated with local deities and names. Kwanon became a popular deity in Japan after the religion spread there. This beautifully and delicately carved Kwanon stands on a lotus pedestal. She is dressed flowing drapery, fine jewellery and crown with Amitabha Buddha. She is holding a a lotus in her left hand showing her heart of purity and a bottle in her right hand which cotains miracles that blesses women with children. Its background represents the sky with sun and moon on the sides. Her eyes are meditative, and her expression is one of kindness and serenity.

It has a signature at the bottom, Ryomei saku that reads made by Roymei.

Bes

Bes

Stone

c. 12th century - 11th century BCE

S 323

Amulets or small stelae in the form of Bes, the lion-maned spirit, a protective deity, were kept in the tombs to give special protection to the mummies. Bes was an assistant of the hippopotamus goddess of childbirth, Taweret and scared away evil demons at the moment of birth and hence was associated with new life.