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A LARGE AND IMPORTANT BRONZE FIGURE OF THE DANCING KRISHNA
A LARGE AND IMPORTANT BRONZE FIGURE OF THE DANCING KRISHNA

SOUTH INDIA, VIJAYANAGARA PERIOD, 16TH CENTURY

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A LARGE AND IMPORTANT BRONZE FIGURE OF THE DANCING KRISHNA
SOUTH INDIA, VIJAYANAGARA PERIOD, 16TH CENTURY
In this impressive sculpture, Krishna is shown as a young man in his iconic dancing pose. His strong elongated torso balances over powerful muscular legs that show no trace of his babyhood chubbiness, and his arms are proportionate with his slender body. He stands on a lotus over a tiered plinth, the upper step incised with three bands of diamond, circular and foliate patterns, respectively. It has a rich red-brown patina overall. This figure's large almond eyes, dangling earrings, and elaborate topknot signify spiritual advancement as well as a kind of playful seductiveness. The child is shown here dancing gracefully with his leg raised in diagonal balance with his outstretched arm.
27 in. (68.5 cms.) high
Provenance
CT Loo, Paris, by 1950.

Lot Essay

Amongst the most popular images of dancing deities in South India is the Krishna child. The iconography between Dancing Krishna and Sambandar is quite close, making it difficult to identify this figure conclusively. As a child, Krishna would often steal butter from his mother's larder. When his mother Yasodhara caught him, she opened his mouth to find the butter and saw the entire universe, twinkling inside. Similarly, Sambandar was left alone by his father in a temple courtyard, and was fed milk by none other than the goddess Parvati herself. When asked by his father who fed him, he gestured towards the heavens, and therefore Sambandar is shown traditionally pointing to the sky in reference to his deep spiritual knowledge of the universe. Having drunk this cup of divine milk, the child is said to have burst into song and dance, praising Shiva and Parvati. This merging of depictions likely evolved out of the conceptual similarity, with Krishna delighted with the ball of butter and Sambandar happy with Parvati's milk, one being divine, the other blessed. This delightful image of a dancing, divinely-inspired child would remind viewers of either Krishna's or Sambandar's unusual childhoods.

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