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An 18th century Baby Krishna figurine, Bengal artifact


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This is an object that I recently acquired from a Harlan J Berk buy-bid sale.  This was an after auction purchase.  I think the lot didn't attract any bids due to the repair the figure's left hand.  The repair was done very professionally.  I used my black light to see if there were any signs of resin (epoxy) used and I didn't see any.

I collect, in addition to a smattering of antiquities, works of Asian art, including Chinese, Japanese, and Southeast Asian.  This South Asian object depicts Baby Krishna, in the characteristic crawling pose, with one extended cupped hand.  Stylistically this carving, done in very fine grain compact basalt, is quite remarkable for its simplicity and clean lines.

Here's the HJB lot description:

"Indian Bengal Black Basalt Baby Krishna; Indian Bengal Black Basalt Baby Krishna, 18th Century AD, Bengal. Modeled in uniform sleek black basalt, the famous incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu is here depicted as the infant god Krishna - a nude child crawling forward with his right hand lifted. With its stylized wide eyes and smooth surfaces, the piece is an excellent example of the almost modernistic Bengal style, which in sharp contrast to other Indian sculptural styles is empty and unornamented in its display of elemental forms. This anachronistically modern Bengali approach inspired the famous modern Indian painter Janmini Roy. Expert restoration to left hand, otherwise excellent condition. H. 5" L. 7" (12.7 cm x 17.8 cm.)."

Harlan Berk Buy-Bid Sale 219, lot 505

This figurine weighs 862.1 grams.

2000722686_D-CameraIndiaBengalBabyKrinshabasaltfigure18thcen12.7cmx17_8cm.HBSale219lot505862.1g7-22-22.jpg.8d8311e25e96337243caba9c39a9dbb9.jpg

 

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Nice looking statue! this one depicts one of his childhood mischiefs, where the cupped hand denotes him eating butter he 'stole' from his neighbours churns. 

Here's my coin depicting baby Krishna dancing on the head of Kaliya, the demon snake. The story goes as a giant snake once terrified the people who went near the river Yamuna. Krishna as the human incarnation of Vishnu, was playing with his friends on the banks of the river, and when their ball flew into the river he went to retrieve it, but Kaliya started to constrict him and tried to swallow the child Krishna as whole. But Krishna started growing in its mouth, opened the jaws and got on to the snake's head, and started dancing, each step squeezed out the venom. In the end, he not only devenomized Kaliya but also showed him mercy after the snake repented. Madurai Nayakas, 2.50 grams, unidentified Tamil legends on the reverse within an incuse. 

265458316_krishna.jpg.f5ee15b8c759d66ad4017db11cfec89f.jpg

 

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