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1. Blind Man’s Buff/ Hide and Seek
Pahari, Kangra, India
Circa 1775-80; First generation after Manaku
Opaque watercolors heightened with gold on paper
10 x 8 in. (25.4 x 20.32 cm.)
Blind Man’s Buff/ Hide and Seek

Provenance: Doris Wiener, September 21st, 1973
Kronos Collection comparable

The eye is first drawn to a young seated Krishna, the crowned deity with a mauve complexion adorned in a yellow dhoti. His eyes are shielded by a playful Gopa, the mid-section of the piece “a friezelike interplay of figures”. In the foreground a group of seated cows are arranged in a delicate manner evoking a mood of evening pleasure along with a background of lush flowering foliage, typical of the period. Bahadur explains in his footnotes on page 335-336 that cora-mihicani or “blind mans buff” is a game in which six or seven players take part. One of them, “the thief” has their eyes covered, while the others hide. The thief then runs in search of the others. Those who have hidden try and return to the khutavam, the place where the thief’s eyes were shielded. If the thief can touch a player before he reaches the khutavam that person becomes the next thief. The subject is a deep allegory, as “everything is illusory: the natural world is subsidiary to Krishna’s game; and to the moral lesson it teaches.”

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