The Salvation of the Elephant (Gaj Mokasha)

Accession Number

The Salvation of the Elephant (Gaj Mokasha)


Artist Nationality
Indian (South Asian)

Object Creation Date
circa 1815

Medium & Support
paint on canvas

7 1/2 in x 10 1/16 in (19 cm x 25.5 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of George H. Lauff

Subject matter
The story of Gajendra moksha appears in the Bhagavatha Purana. It tells the story of an elephant named Gajendre who prays to vishnu for help when struggling with a water creature (crocodile, monster). Gajendra makes an offering of a lotus flower with his trunk. The prayers made by Gajendra became a famous hymn in praise of Lord Vishnu called Gajendra Stuthi. Seeing His devotee in distress, Lord Vishnu kills the crocodile and saves Gajendra.

Physical Description
An elephant seems to walk on water from the bottom right corner of the composition, rising towards Vishnu in the upper left with a single lotus flower in its trunk. Vishnu, with 4 arms, steps on green hills surrounding the lotus covered pond, bending towards the elephant. Garuda flies in the upper right.

Primary Object Classification

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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flowers (plant components)
lotus (motif)
paintings (visual works)

& Author Notes

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