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Bhagavata Purana illustration: Gajendramoksha.* Jaipur, circa 1820 - 30. Gouache and gold on wasli. 46.9 x 31.7cm

Provenance: Capt. John Anthony Hodgson (1777-1848), Surveyor General of India, 1821-23 and 1826-29. Revenue Surveyor General of Bengal (1823-26).

On the back of its original frame was a label, now removed (image below). Hand-written with pen and ink in English is information that 'Colonel John Hodgson, Surveyor General of all India was the first Englishman who crossed the Himalayas, took altitudes....was present at the siege of Delhi, and found this curious picture under one of the gates of Delhi - John Hodgson died in India in 1848'.

*Gajendramoksha: 'deliverence of Gajendra'. The king of elephants, Gajendra, when at a lakeside taking a drink of water was grabbed by the jaws of a hungry crocodile and a tug of war ensued between them lasting one thousand years. Exhausted, Gajendra could resist no longer and was about to die when he appealed to Vishnu by singing a hymn of praises. Vishnu then appeared to save him, his descent to the lakeside the subject of the picture, with his vahana (vehicle) Garuda above whilst above the skies the gods rain flowers upon them.

Ref: Jaipur Gajendramoksha 19511

All images and text © Peter Blohm