The story of Krishna and Arjuna, with six miniatures

[Hinduism - Bhagavad Gita]. Bhagavad Gita.

[Northern India, ca. 1850].

8vo (144 x 186 mm). Sanskrit manuscript on paper. 204 ff. Modern endpapers, plus modern paper interleaved before and after each illumination. Devanagari script triple-ruled in yellow, pink, and purple. With 6 hand-painted miniatures. Modern red cloth.


A lovely manuscript of one of the most important works of Hindu mythology. The Bhagavad Gita is part of the epic Mahabharata, and its story is framed by a dialogue between the warrior prince Arjuna and his charioteer, who is none other than Krishna, avatar of Vishnu. Illustrated in this manuscript with six hand-painted miniatures, the Bhagavad Gita follows the moral, philosophical, and mystic conversation between the two, as Ajurna tries to navigate the trials of warfare - an allegory for the struggle of life itself.

The carefully painted miniatures in this copy show several prominent figures from the Bhagavad Gita, including Dourga, Vishnu, Shiva, and naturally Arjuna and Krishna themselves. Dourga, one of the incarnations of Parvati, consort of Shiva, is identifiable by her weapons, as well as objects borrowed from other deities; similarly, Arjuna can be identified by his bow and quiver of arrows, as a master of archery and martial arts. Krishna naturally appears in his role as charioteer as he guides Arjuna through not only a physical but a metaphysical journey.

The importance of the Bhagavad Gita as a cultural and religious text cannot be overstated, and its manuscript tradition stretches back to deep antiquity. This 19th century copy was completed during the Hindu renaissance which took place in India in the 1800s, and is written in a tidy Devanagari script.


Slight dampstaining throughout; miniatures a touch delicate, and rubbed in some places; altogether well preserved.

Art.-Nr.: BN#63439 Schlagwörter: , , ,