The present figure depicts Krishna as a child joyously dancing upon a raised plinth. Images of dancing Krishna are among the most popular of subjects in South India, often found in the form of the child god celebrating atop the hood of the serpent Kalia (kaliyadaman, see lot 710) and while holding his prized, stolen butterball (navanitanrittamurti). In the present example, Krishna dances out of pure delight, balancing on one leg and raising his right hand in the gesture of fearlessness, abhayamudra, his left arm outstretched. The young deity is naked, save for some modest jewelry and a string of bells fastened around his waist, adding to the liveliness of the dance.
This depiction of Krishna is often confused with that of the Shaivite saint Sambandar, who is always shown with the index finger of his right arm pointing. For close comparisons to the present sculpture, 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