Krishna Dancing
11th century
Asia: India, Tamil Nadu
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.


  • Title: Krishna Dancing
  • Date: 11th century
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Dimensions: 20-3/4 x 11-3/4 x 7-1/2 in. (52.7 x 29.8 x 19.1 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1975.17.46.S
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

Tales of the Blue Lord

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2007-11-09 to 2008-05-12
  • Dehejia, Vidya, Asian Art: Selections from the Norton Simon Museum, fig. 16 p. 46
  • Pal, Pratapaditya, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, Volume 1: Art from the Indian Subcontinent, 2003, no. 178 p. 251
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 1247 p. 386
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