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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.

Audio Listen to an excerpt from the audio tour


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