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Four Centuries of Paintings and Manuscripts from the Indian Subcontinent

CAT. NO. 58

Hiranyakashipu asks Prahlada whether Vishnu is in the pillar in front of him Pahari, Nainsukh family workshop, c.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 | 30.6 × 38.5 cm (folio); 23.8 × 31.8 cm (image) | RCIN 925238

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After Prahlada again asserts that Vishnu is the omnipresent, supreme controller of the universe, Hiranyakashipu asks ‘then why do I not see Him in this pillar right in front of me?’. When his son replies that Vishnu is indeed in the pillar, Hiranyakashipu instructs his demons to destroy it.

Infrared reflectography of this painting reveals the complex geometric framework used by the artist to accurately construct the repeating curved contours of the roof.