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Eastern Encounters pattern
Eastern Encounters

Drawn from the Royal Library's collection of South Asian books and manuscripts

CAT. NO. 57

The demons try to crush Prahlada with an elephant

Pahari, Nainsukh family workshop, <i>c</i>.1775–90

Folio from a series depicting the Bhagavata Purana (see cat. no. 51) | Painting in opaque watercolour including gold and silver metallic paints on paper with wide painted margins | 30.5 × 38.5 cm (folio), 23.8 × 31.7 cm (image) | RCIN 925235

The demons subject Prahlada to various assaults by throwing him over a precipice, poisoning him, burning him on a pyre, throwing him into a well and attacking him with venomous snakes, all of which he survives thanks to Vishnu’s protection. Here, Hiranyakashipu watches from a balcony as the demons attempt to crush Prahlada with an elephant. The elephant’s tusks are broken and one of the demons’ tridents has been bent. Yet the boy lies on the floor unharmed. It is a rare composition from an unusually high perspective giving a view onto the courtyard, inside the palace rooms and out of the gates into the distance.

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