A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF DANCING KRISHNA TAMIL NADU, CHOLA DYNASTY, CIRCA 12TH CENTURY

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Lot 3231
A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF DANCING KRISHNA
TAMIL NADU, CHOLA DYNASTY, CIRCA 12TH CENTURY

Sold for US$ 492,500 inc. premium
A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF DANCING KRISHNA
TAMIL NADU, CHOLA DYNASTY, CIRCA 12TH CENTURY
15 3/8 in. (39.2 cm) high

Footnotes

  • This beautifully cast image depicts Krishna in his most popular form in South India - as a young dancing boy. His hair is arranged into a kesabhandha, reserved especially for juveniles and female figures, wherein rows of curls are stacked upon each other, one of the most attractive elements found in fine Chola sculpture. He is naked but for sumptuous jeweled ornaments, also betraying his status as a pampered, royal child, yet the sculpture does anything but infantilize the deity, who offers the viewer a gesture of reassurance (abhaya mudra) with his right hand and darshan with his still, confident expression.

    The overall effect is one of skill and dignity, further emphasized by the flawless modeling of his dancing pose, balancing each limb with effortless control above a crisply modeled lotus base. His outstretched left arm provides a graceful counterbalance to his upraised right foot, prompting the eye to trace the attractive contours of his torso and thighs, and rejoice maternally in the supple health of this divine child. For in this form, otherwise known as Balakrishna, the deity so effectively fuses feelings of affection and love with awe and reverence – an association adroitly encouraged by the present sculpture.

    Following the schema outlined by Sivaramamurti, the jeweled tassels hugging Krishna's ears and descending towards makara-shaped earrings resting on his shoulders indicate the mature Chola style of the 12th century (South Indian Bronzes, New Delhi, 1963, pp.28-9). Being one of the best examples of the subject in private hands, it compares most favorably to 13th-century examples of Balakrishna in the Sarabhai Foundation (Nagaswamy, Timeless Delight, Ahmedabad, 2006, pp.224-7, no.24) and of Sambandar in the Linden-Museum, Stuttgart (Dehejia, Chola, London, 2006, pp.98-9, no.16). Similarly, the Maitri Dancing Krishna stands taller than, and just as gracefully as the two comparable Sambandars: one formerly of the Heeramaneck and Pan Asian Collections sold at Christie's, 1 December 1982, lot 192; the other sold more recently at Christie's, New York, 16 September 2016, lot 416.

    Published
    Carlton Rochell Asian Art, Indian and Southeast Asian Art: Selections from the Robert and Bernice Dickes Collection, New York, 2010, no.8.

    Provenance
    Spink & Son Ltd, London
    Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, New York
    Sold to benefit Asia Society, New York, Sotheby's Parke-Bernet, New York, 3 May 1977, lot 7
    William H. Wolff, Inc., New York, 23 October 1985
    Robert and Bernice Dickes Collection
    Carlton Rochell Asian Art, 22 March 2010
Contacts
A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF DANCING KRISHNA TAMIL NADU, CHOLA DYNASTY, CIRCA 12TH CENTURY
A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF DANCING KRISHNA TAMIL NADU, CHOLA DYNASTY, CIRCA 12TH CENTURY
A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF DANCING KRISHNA TAMIL NADU, CHOLA DYNASTY, CIRCA 12TH CENTURY
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