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Balakrishna
Tamil Nadu, India
16th century

length: 8 cm; height: 6.2 cm

This small image depicts Krishna as a crawling infant. He holds a butter ball (or more precisely a butter stick) in his right hand. He is naked other than for a
chest band, a waist band, necklaces (one of which appears to support an amulet box to protect him from evil) and earrings.

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 (see the second photograph).

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

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

Inventory no.: 165

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