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Lord Jaganatha with his brother Balarama and sister Subhadra

Accession Number

Lord Jaganatha with his brother Balarama and sister Subhadra


Artist Nationality
Indian (South Asian)

Object Creation Date
circa 1969

Medium & Support
ink and opaque watercolor on cotton

12 1/8 in x 20 1/16 in (30.8 cm x 51 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Professor Charles H. and Katharine C. Sawyer

Label copy
Gallery Rotation Spring 2013
Lord Jaganatha with his Brother Balarama and Sister Subhadra
India, Orissa
circa 1969
Ink and opaque watercolor on cloth
Gift of Professor Charles H. and Katherine C. Sawyer 2002/2.192
Jaganatha, which means “Lord of the Universe,” is considered a form of Vishu or his avatar Krishna by Hindus. He is worshipped in the northeast regions of India. Recognizable by his black face, he is typically accompanied by his brother, Balabhadra, and his sister, Subhadra. This folk painting is based on the principle image of Jaganatha and his siblings found in the Jaganatha Temple in Puri, Orissa, regarded as one of the Char Dham (sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites) in India. These statues are not anthropomorphic, but rather simply carved, highly decorated wooden stumps with large eyes and no visible legs. In the painting worshippers offer the deities plates of food and drinks.

Subject matter
It is said that five thousand years ago, Lord Krishna, with His elder brother Balarama and Balarama's younger sister Subhadra, once visited Kuruksetra (an area in Northern India) by chariot.
Two thousand years after their visit, King Indradyumna decided to build the temple of Jagannatha in Orissa at Puri. For the temple he wanted a picture commemorating the journey of Krishna, Subhadra, and Balarama to Kuruksetra via chariot. Legend is that the artist was unable to finish the work and that is why they are depicted without distinguishable arms and legs. Still, this original image has since been used as a template for all other works of the Ratnabedi triad.

Physical Description
This image has three large figures sitting in a row. The two slightly larger figures (one with a white face; left and the other with a black face; right) flank a smaller yellow faced figure. Painted in a distinct blue-background strip beneath these large figures are several smaller figures. Next to three of these figures are trays holding food.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
figure painting

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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historical regions
paintings (visual works)

2 Related Resources

Hindu Gods and Goddesses
(Part of 6 Learning Collections)

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