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A YANTRA SCROLL FROM KASHMIR HINDU COSMOLOGY, 20th century, with paintings of the Hindu Trilogy – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, who are depicted seated on a Lotus flower. The painting on the top of the scroll depicts Vishnu as a child in the form of Vatapatra Shayi resting on the leaf with sage Markandeya receiving his darshana (vision). There are also paintings of Shiva, Parvati, Brahma, Ganesha and his consort, along with other celestial beings. Towards the end of the scroll are other members of the Hindu pantheon of gods and celestial beings like Kamadhenu the cow, holding seven Lokas (worlds) on her head, Vasuki (multi-hooded snake associated with churning of the ocean), Munduka (frog), etc. Each section shows a narrator seated on a lotus in a smaller circle on the lower right, perhaps the Brahmin who narrated the scripture for the scroll.
gouache on paper; paper from Sialkot, Pakistan
This is an exquisite Hindu Yantra scroll (religious text) that depicts the various aspects of life, the cosmos and the Hindu gods. The paintings on it are in the Kashmir style of miniature painting that was in practice during the late 18th century and continued to the early decades of the 20th century. Made on hand made paper from Sialkot (present day Pakistan), the script used is sarada, which developed around the 8th century. Once popular with the inhabitants of Kashmir, today sarada can only be read by a few Kashmiri Pandits and is used chiefly for ceremonial purposes. The Kashmir school of paintings is an almost extinct tradition.