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Arts of Asia

The MFAH collections of art from China, India, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia reflect Houston’s diverse communities. Ancient and contemporary works are displayed together to create innovative juxtapositions.


India (Kangara or Mandi)
Krishna Abducting Rukmani from the Temple
c. 1800–1820
Watercolor with gold on paper

11 5/8 x 17 1/2 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum purchase funded by the Brown Foundation Accessions Endowment Fund

Arts of Asia

This painting depicts a famous scene from Hindu mythology. Lord Krishna, often regarded as an avatar of the great god Vishnu, leads the Lady Rukmini in his gleaming chariot. The couple is escaping from Rukmini’s wedding to Prince Shishupala of Chedi. 

Rukmini was deeply in love with Krishna and had written to him before the ceremony asking him to rescue her. Krishna and Rukmini fled to Dwaraka, Krishna’s fortress home, where they were married.

Rukmini is frequently viewed as the incarnation of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and happiness, and is seen as bearing all the qualities of a divine consort in human form. Rukmini is Krishna’s queen, and the primary and favorite of all his wives.