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|Time required to recreate this artwork:||20 to 24 weeks|
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The statue represents Lord Krishna as standing with a body posture having three curves, known in Vaishnava tradition as Tri-bhanga, one of the most popular forms of Krishna’s images. It gives to Krishna ‘Tri-bhangi Lal’ as one of his popular epithets. His ‘Tri-bhanga’ icons enshrine three of the four main Vaishnava shrines devoted to Krishna, namely, Vrindavana, Dwarika and Nathadwara. Jagannatha temple at Puri, the fourth, alone has a different deity form. Krishna’s temple at Vrindavana, where Krishna spent the early days of his life and the main ‘Pitha’ of Krishna’s Vaishnavism, not only enshrines a ‘Tri-bhanga’ image of Lord Krishna but is even named after such curved form of the image. The Vrindavana shrine is named as the Banke Bihari temple, ‘Banke’ meaning the ‘curved’, and ‘Bihari’, one who pervades, that is, Krishna pervades the temple, symbolic of the cosmos, by his ‘three curves’, suggesting perhaps that by each of his curves he pervaded each of the three worlds or cosmic regions. In his ‘Tri-bhangi’ form Krishna’s image bends actually at five places sometimes seen as pervading all five directions.
The statue, a wood-piece in its natural tint further added with a similar dye giving it a copper-image like lustre, represents Krishna as playing on his flute. The rhythm breathing out of the vigorous notes of his flute have moved his feet and legs and waving along them his entire figure seems to curve like waves in a lake. Apparently, Lord Krishna is engaged completely in playing on his flute, a pure aesthetic visualization aimed at revealing beauty and delighting thereby, but the mysticism that this flute-playing form of him generates is also quite significant. It suggests that he is himself enslaved by the melody which is his own creation, something which a mystic would contend as : He, who Himself is the Creator of Maya, the manifest world, is as much the Maya’s slave. The flute, a material means, creates a ‘bhava’, an ecstatic sentiment which is all divine and abstract, and this ecstatic divinity leaves the flute player transformed, and again, this spiritual transformation reveals as rhythm manifesting in the body. ‘Material’ being the source of ‘spiritual’, and ‘spiritual’, manifesting in ‘material’, is the essence of Krishna’s Vaishnavism, which this divine image thrusts.
The figure of Lord Krishna is placed on a moderately rendered lotus pedestal. Lord Krishna is wearing an elegantly pleated ‘antariya’ – lower garment, adorned with decorative ‘patta’ and sash with ends artistically unfurling on sides, besides a broad girdle composed of multiple beaded laces and phalis. A garland, thickly conceived twisted with multiple laces of flowers, adorns his figure down to thigh-height. A wide range of ornaments, heavy and light, bangles, bracelets, armlets, necklaces, anklets and the like adorn his entire figure. He is wearing a multi-tiered rich crown which has on its back a halo from which radiates divine aura. The four-armed figure of Lord Krishna, conceived like Vishnu, blowing with normal two hands his flute, and holding in other two, ‘chakra’ – disc, and ‘shankha’ – conch, is unparalleled in its modeling, plasticity and fine iconography, especially the form of eyes absorbed in melody and a round face with sharp elegantly conceived features.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.