Inventory no.: 3885

Tanjore Bronze Krishna


Krishna Kaliyadamana in Brass & Bronze (Ganga-Jumna)

Tanjore Region, South India

18th century

height: 11.9cm, width: 6.8cm

This very fine cast image of Krishna has been decorated with what is known as the Ganga-Jumna technique whereby the object has been cast in bronze and finished with applied brass highlights. The term Ganga-Jumna relates to India’s two largest rivers which traditionally have had two different colours on account of differing types of soil sediment suspended in their waters.

This type of work was done in the 18th and 19th centuries in and around Tanjore (now known as Thanjavur), in Tamil Nadu, in southern India.

The images is beautifully decorated with jewellery, bells and waist bands. It shows Krishna as Krishna Kaliyadamana, in a guise that relates to Krishna’s childhood – the god had a fight with the snake Kaliya, who had previously quarrelled with Garuda whom he snake had failed to honour with an offering. Kalyia subsequently poisoned a pool of water with his venom. Krishna’s friends, the cow-herders and their flocks were then poisoned when drinking from the pool. On hearing about this, Krishna rushed to their aid and almost kicked Kaliya to death.

The image here shows this but also shows Krishna holding a butterball in his right hand, an allusion to another incident in his early life when he stole a butterball from his mother’s larder.

The image here is in excellent condition. It is one of the finest of this type that we have seen.


Mitchell, A.G., Hindu Gods and Goddesses, UBSPD, 1982.


UK art market

Inventory no.: 3885