Asian Tribal Art - Venugopala (Krishna), India

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Venugopala (Krishna) playing flute
Lost wax cast bronze
3" (7.6 cm) high
16th century

The Venugopala form of Krishna playing the flute is to Vaishnavite iconography what Nataraja is to the Shaivites: the piece de resistance. It is unusual for him to be portrayed having four hands, and even more rare to see him with eight. This graceful, diminutive example shows him holding the chakra and the conch in his upper hands, while his lower hands are poised to hold the flute to his lips. Each of his arms is ringed with a loose bracelet, another unusual feature, and he stands in the characteristic svastikasana position. He appears to have been originally painted black, as there is residue of black pigment on the surfaces that have seen less wear from puja. 


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