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Tamil Nadu Indian Bronze Krishna as a Crawling Infant

Tamil Nadu, India
Vijayanagar Period, 15th-16th century

length: 10.5cm, height: 10.2cm, weight: 552g



UK art market

This good-sized and well cast image depicts Krishna as a crawling infant. He holds a butter ball (or more precisely a butter stick) in his right hand. (It might also be a mango – these were sometimes put in place of the butter ball in South India.) He is naked other than for his headdress, a chest band, a waist band, necklaces, and earrings, and other jewellery.

The tall, distinctive headdress is unique to Tamil Nadu and is of a type that forms part of the costume for the Kathakali dancers of Kerala. The headdress here is cast with a beautiful floral design to the top.

A similar crawling krishna is in the Norton Simon Museum (M.1977.30.10.S) and illustrated in Pal (2003, p. 277).

The example here is larger than most extant examples of South Indian Krishnas of this type. It has a splendid patina and is very well cast with an expressive face and fine curling hair. Traces of red sindoor or vermillion powder are visible on the image.


Pal, P., Art from the Indian Subcontinent: Asian Art at the Simon Norton Museum, Volume 1, Yale University Press, 2003.

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