Dhenu-Venu Gopal Krishna

Dhenu-Venu Gopal Krishna
Availability: Can be backordered
South Indian Temple Wood Carving
23 inch X 11.5 inch X 4.5
5.4 kg
Item Code: XL62
Price: $420.00
Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
This item can be back ordered
Time required to recreate this artwork: 20 to 24 weeks
Advance to be paid now (% of product value): 20%
Balance to be paid once product is ready: 80%
The amount to be tendered as advance to back order this artwork: $84.00
Viewed 6105 times since 21st Dec, 2012
An outstanding work of art, this great masterpiece, essentially in the tradition of South Indian temple wood-carving, represents enrapt Krishna playing on his flute while a cow out of its love for him is drawn close to him and in complete dedication inclines to lick his feet. The artifact seeks its distinction in the purity of wood’s natural colour and texture : every cell and vein retained in its original form, in every likeliness a piece of Bangai wood, growing around a particular region in Tamilnadu. Bangai wood is a timber of rare variety with moderate compaction, neither too hard nor too soft, and hence ideal for carving. The statue represents Krishna as Gopal, the patron of cows that as a cowherd was Krishna’s basic identity and one of his other most popular names. However his image with a cow behind him, as in this statue, is known in Vaishnava iconographical tradition as Dhenu-Gopal, laying further emphasis on his role as keeper of cows as Dhenu is yet another term for cow. Apart, when Krishna has been represented as playing on his flute – ‘venu’, his image is known as Venu-Gopal. This wood-sculpture represents him as both, Dhenu and Venu Gopal.

Unlike his normal two-armed image-form that enshrines all four seats of Krishna’s Vaishnavism : Vrindavana, Nathadwara, Puri and Dwarika, and temples almost everywhere in India and beyond, this statue represents him as four-armed. Alike, he has been represented as wearing a towering Vaishnava crown, Lord Vishnu-like ‘kundalas’ – ear-ornaments, and large ‘Vaijayanti’ – garland of Parijat flowers, with a Vaishnava ‘tilaka’ mark on the forehead, and carrying in two of his hands the attributes that the images of Vishnu carry, a conventionalized lotus and conch, and, above all, a conspicuous absence of peacock feather crest, an essential feature of Krishna’s images. Except that the represented image has been cast in ‘tri-bhang’ – three-curved posture, playing on his flute and a cow accompanying him : all typical features of Krishna’s form, and completely foreign to the images of Vishnu, this statue represents Krishna like Lord Vishnu. The style of ‘antariya’ – lower wear, elaborate girdle comprising laces of beads that holds it, halo around the face and rich and lavish ornaments, all are more characteristic features of the images of Vishnu.

Obviously, the representation in this statue is influenced by South Indian cult of Vaishnavism that lays greater emphasis on the worship of Lord Vishnu in his primordial form, not any of his incarnations. Texts perceive Krishna as Vishnu’s eighth incarnation but except their blue body-colour in visual manifestations they are represented with widely different physiognomy, postures : Krishna’s being quite intimate and personalized, while Vishnu’s, majestic and regal, and a widely different set of attributes and myths, and thus their imagery. A typical example of wood-carving in South Indian tradition, this statue represents Krishna but blending into his form many of the features of Vaishnava images. An image of Krishna playing on his flute is of one fully absorbed into the melody that his flute produces. However, in this image, despite that the ‘bhava’ – emotion, absorption, an essential aspect of flute-playing Krishna, enshrines his face, the element of majesty and regality as powerfully blends with it.

The image of Lord Krishna, a four-armed manifestation carrying in upper ones a conventionalised lotus and conch, and with other two, playing on flute, along with the figure of cow has been installed on a three-tiered ‘pitha’ – pedestal, the upwards tapering base-moulding consisting of ‘phalis’ – decorative loops, that in the centre, consisting of conventionalised lotus motifs and beads in intervening spaces, and upper most, relatively plain but carved with waves-pattern symbolic of river Yamuna, an entity so deeply associated with Krishna. With its tail contained within its hind legs as has a cow when caressing and feeding its calf and its mouth turned to Krishna’s feet, the cow, symbolic of the worldly self devoted to the Supreme Self, stands for complete submission. The highly adorned image combines with Krishna’s humanistic aspects Vishnu’s majesty. His figure is poised in ‘tri-bhang’ and is modeled with mild curves corresponding to the movement of his legs. Fine execution discovering forms, iconographic features and linear details, sensitive treatment of the subject, perfect anatomical balance, well-assimilated parts and emotional bearing on the face impart to the artifact unique artistic merit and great distinction.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.

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