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The Prachetas

Mid- 18th century
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
This painting illustrates the Hindu tale of the ten Prachetas brothers, the great grandsons of Prithu, the primordial being. They spent ten thousand years in the great ocean meditating on Vishnu, the ultimate deity, and were consequently granted the gift of becoming the progenitors of mankind. Without rule, however, forests (chaos) had overgrown the world and it was necessary for the Prachetas first to conquer the wilderness before mankind could appear. Here the ten brothers are depicted before their return, hairy and distorted from years of severe austerities. They are also surrounded by fires that, in the sweltering Indian climate, further increase the suffering through which they gain spiritual merit....

Object Details

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