Tales of the Blue Lord

Tales of the Blue Lord explores the life and legends of Krishna, the lotus-eyed mischievous god whose name means “the dark one.” One of the most revered deities within the Hindu pantheon, Krishna elicits great devotion from his followers, due in part to his numerous incarnations or manifestations, including naughty child, bewitching flautist, slayer of demons, sensual lover and bucolic hero. Indeed, images of Krishna’s adventures are among the most colorful and beloved in Indian art.

The centerpiece of this installation is an 18th-century temple wall from Kerala, India. A recent donation to the Museum, the wall is more than nine feet wide and nearly eight feet high. The wall comprises 12 separately carved wooden boards, with each bright polychromed panel depicting a different scene from the life of Krishna.

The temple wall is accompanied by some twelve paintings and sculptures from the Museum’s permanent collections, including several Chola bronzes and numerous paintings from devotional folios such as the Gitagovinda and the Bhagavatapurana.

Tales of the Blue Lord is the first in a series of exhibitions presented in a newly dedicated space for rotating Asian installations. Located in the lower level alcove near the stairwell, the gallery features installations that explore focused themes, genres and styles found in the Museum’s celebrated Asian art collection.