Krishna Tales

Bound In Book 
Date digitised
September '2017

A67) Krishna tales

Illuminated manuscript on paper written in Urdu language and elegant n_a_s_t_a_l_iq__calligraphy, coming from Kashmir, to be dated most likely at the late XVIII or beginning of XIX century.

This huge text is composed by 496 pages, lavishly embellished by 186 beautiful miniatures with plentiful use of gold, silver and vivid polychromy as well, in the typical kashmiri painting style.

The average page dimensions are of mm. ca. 204/206 x 116/118, while text panel's dimensions swing between mm. ca. 144/151 x 84/88. The frontispiece folium, though, decorated by a rich multicoloured rug-shaped s_a_r_l_a_w_h, shows, along with some both human and divine illuminated figures, a somewhat wider bigger panel: mm. 175 x 91.Starting from page 3, the manuscript's outer margins are filled with another text, both in black and red ink, written in Persian language. This latter text is neither a translation into Persian nor a Persian comment on the Urdu text, but a different text instead, having nothing to do with the main one. The manuscript is written in black ink, except for the most important termes, the section titles of the Persian text and the technical terms of hindu poetry, s_ak_hT_and ca_w_p_ai, that are marked in red ink. Binding with blind tooled and gold decorations, restored.

The manuscript, albeit complete and provided with a short colophon, does not disclose any valuable informations about its history, such as the title of the work, date and place of composition, scribe's or customer's name(s) or any other data. Totally absent are bequest or ownership statements as well.

The heading inscribed in the title block just below the unwan-like upper part of the sarlawh in the frontispiece folium says: A_um,S_(i)_r_i_G_a_n_e_say_a__n_a_m_ah, which means 0_m, g_l_o_r_y a_n_d s_a_l_u_te t_o t_h_e D_i_v_i_ne _G_a_nesa!_, introductory greeting that was commonplace in letters, manuscripts or even trivial documents within hindu cultural environment.

The Urdu manuscript text undoubtedly deals with the sacred deeds of the young god Krsna (Krishna, lit.: "the Black skinned" in sanskrit language: that is why the god is to be seen invariably depicted as a handsome youth with blue or violet complexion, more rarely utterly black). Krishna is the most famous a_v_a_t_ar_a__(lit.: "descent": "personification") of one of the three most important hindu deities: Visnu. As a mighty hero of the hindu epic, Krsna's life is praised since his childhood and education: in many miniatures he is to be seen as a small child, and the narration of this manuscript handles some of the god-hero's most renowned deeds.