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A bronze figure of Balakrishna
PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTOR
A bronze figure of Balakrishna

SOUTH INDIA, TAMILNADU, CHOLA PERIOD, 12TH CENTURY

Details
A bronze figure of Balakrishna
South India, Tamilnadu, Chola period, 12th century
Standing on a square plinth with his left leg angled and arm raised, his face with a benign expression surmounted by a conical headdress, with a smooth dark patina overall
16½ in. (42 cm.) high
Provenance
Private Collection, America, aquired before 1962

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Lot Essay

Amongst the most popular images of dancing deities in South India is the Krishna child. He can also be depicted dancing in victory over the defeat of the serpent Kaliya (kaliyamardakamurti) or in anticipation when holding a butterball stolen from his mother's larder (navanitanrittamurti), however in the present example, he dances out of pure delight. Similar to postures held by bharatnatyam dancers, Krishna poses elegantly on two bent legs, holding his right hand up in the gesture of fearlessness while his left arm is outstretched in the elephant trunk gesture for balance.

Without the butterball or snake hood, this depiction of the dancing Krishna child is often confused with Sambandar, however the Shaivite saint is always shown with his right hand pointing, presumably towards Shiva and Parvati. For close comparisons, see V. Dehejia, The Sensuous and the Sacred, 2002, p. 199, fig. no. 51, and P. Pal, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, Vol. 1; Art from the Indian Subcontinent, 2003, p. 251, fig. no. 178.

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