This wall hanging depicts Shri Nathji, lifting on his finger the Govardhan mountain. In his other hand he is holding a bunch of lotuses. His peacock crown has been inlaid with jewels and is cast in gold. He is richly bejewelled and is bearing a frilled green gorgeously embroidered skirt. He has on his nose a bejewelled ring with a prominent pearl laid on it. A long garland of lotus flowers trails to his feet, a lock of his long hair curls to his waist and the two ends of his sash flutter on his both sides. He has been placed against a lush green rich bower consisting of banana plants and various flowering shrubs. He is standing on a pedestal gilded with gold and inlaid with precious stones. It has on his left and right two huge but colourful bolsters. The rectangular bowl-stand laid before him contains his favourite 'makkhana' or butter. One of the two vertically rising stands has the symbolic representation of mother Yashoda. 'Gopis', cows and peacocks, all in dancing profile, are suggestive of Krishna's 'ras', the cosmic dance.
The tradition of miniature paintings in India has its origin in cloth and palm-leaf painting and such earliest reported ones are from 11th century. Before paper came in prevalence cloth and walls, at least for painting a theme which required a larger canvas, were the only media and illustrations to religious texts, myths and legends the only themes. Cloth was the most suited medium for Jain and Boddha merchants trading across the country and beyond as on a cloth-piece they could conveniently carry during their trading missions the votive representations of their deities. Even after invention of paper as the new art medium the wall and cloth paintings continued to prevail. In temples, monasteries, chhatris and other such places religious texts were yet the themes of their painted walls but the walls of private mansions, castles and forts diverted also to other kinds of themes. Such large size pieces of cloth, as this one, which in medieval days largely replaced frescos, were widely used as wall hangings. Such wall hangings, known in art terminology as 'Pichhawai', have both the religious as well as other kinds of themes.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture.