This pichhavaiwas created as a backdrop to a shrine for the annual Autumn Moon festival, sharad purnima. The festival celebrates Krishna’s legendary dance with the milkmaids, gopis, of the cow-herding village in which he grew up. The painting depicts Krishna, a deity adored for his mischievous and flirtatious personality, flanked by adoring gopis. The major Hindu gods, including Shiva and his consort Parvati (Uma), as well as Indra in a vehicle drawn by the multi-trunked elephant Airavata, appear in the starry sky.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label