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Krishna Dancing

Krishna Dancing, 11th century

India: Tamil Nadu, 1000-1099
20-3/4 x 11-3/4 x 7-1/2 in. (52.7 x 29.8 x 19.1 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Krishna is one of the most beloved avatars of the god Vishnu. Worshippers often envision him as a handsome youth or as the precocious child seen here. Episodes from Krishna’s childhood further endeared him to many Tamil saints. The eighth-century saint Periyalvar sang of each milestone in Krishna’s early life from the perspective of a delighted parent:

He smiles his charming smile
little white teeth in pink mouth
I am drowned in waves of joy as he trips forward […]

In this lively dance, the young Krishna sports bells on his waist and ankles. His right hand is held in abhaya mudra, the gesture of protection.

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