About this object

History of use

Indian popular religious prints have been published for nearly a century, first by German presses, later by Indian ones. The prints may take the form of calendars, posters, or simply images. The style of the representations is European. In the beginning they were Hindu images, but are now acquiring elements both of folk art and a romantic secularism. It is a living art currently influenced by the movie industry and non-Hindu religions. The images are a vehicle for advertising and are also used for religious purposes.

Cultural context

calendar art; popular religious art

Iconographic meaning

Probable god, Krishna, indicated by blue-tinged skin colour, a symbolic characteristic of Vishnu who Krishna represents as an incarnation. Flute, crown, and peacock feathers are all attributes of Krishna. Full moon and water suggest romantic interludes for which Krishna is known. He is sensitive to feminine needs, arousing passionate adoration, and fulfills the most intense of their physical desires. His delusive powers lead each woman to believe he is with her. He is guardian of morality, yet a lover, sanctioned and legal. Passionate love for Krishna represents the symbolic union with god, the final purpose of Indian life.

Physical description

Rectangular calendar print depicting a young male, Krishna, seated and about to play a golden flute. He is wearing a yellow dhoti with a red waist wrap and a light blue cloth over his arms. He is adorned with gold and jeweled bracelets, necklace, earrings and headdress. There are three peacock feathers in his headdress. Around his neck is a long white, red and green floral garland. Mountains or settlement portrayed behind body of water in background. Print's edges unevenly cut.