The Gods and Asuras Churn the Ocean of Milk

From Our Collections Razmnama Leaf Collection
The Gods and Asuras Churn the Ocean of Milk

Item Info

Item No: mcom00151
Title: The Gods and Asuras Churn the Ocean of Milk
Additional Title: Razmnama (Book of War)
Media Type: Manuscripts
Source: Rare Book Department

The main story of the Mahabharata, that of the feuding Kauravas and Pandavas, is prefaced by tales of earlier epochs when gods upheld cosmic order while asuras (anti-gods) strove to destroy it. Here, in an unusual instance of cooperation, six gods and an asura use the serpent Vasuki as a rope and Mount Mandara (Meru) as a stick to churn the great milk ocean. Their churning releases all the beneficial things held within the waters, including the elixir of immortality, the celestial steed, and the wish-granting tree. Although it depicts a great Hindu creation story, this painting features a figure clothed in a turban and jama, typical Mughal court costume of the time. The delicately shaded trees spotting the horizon were likely inspired by Flemish engravings, while the flesh- and pink-colored vertical mass of rock is a Persian painting convention.

Region/County: Region/County:Northern India, Mughal court

Creation Year (Single Year or Range Begin): 1599
Call Number: Lewis M 15

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