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Sculptures > Hindu > Laddu Gopal: The Child Krishna with Laddu in His Hand
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Laddu Gopal: The Child Krishna with Laddu in His Hand

Laddu Gopal: The Child Krishna with Laddu in His Hand

Laddu Gopal: The Child Krishna with Laddu in His Hand

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Bronze Sculpture

7.3 inch X 4.5 inch X 3.2 inch
1.51 kg
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Laddu Gopal: The Child Krishna with Laddu in His Hand

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Viewed 12832 times since 2nd Nov, 2011
This tiny image cast in bronze, a tougher alloy but softened to reveal a gold ornament’s precision, minuteness of details and overall sophistication, represents child Krishna with a ‘laddu’ – ball-like shaped sweet, in his right hand, a form known in the popular tradition as ‘Laddu Gopal’. In the level of perfection and classicism that the image reveals there reflects a rare skill that the craftsmen of Swamimalai matured over centuries through many generations of them. A centre of bronze casting with its rare distinction, perhaps hardly any other art centre in India to stand equal, still pursues the standards of great South Indian bronzes that had a centuries old tradition under many ruling dynasties. Bronzes from Swamimalai, a small town near Chennai in Tamilnadu, as this tiny piece, with every millimeter of space conceived with a jeweler’s eye, breathe a kind of classicism, divine aura, and beauty par excellence.

The child Krishna has been represented as sprawling on the floor which the pedestal his image has been installed on symbolises. His left leg has been cast as turned to right in semi-cross-legged posture, and the right, upraised, which besides creating a rhythmic vibrancy also supports his upheld right hand. The artist seems to have infused into the simple anatomy of the figure a meaning, however remote. His right hand, holding the sweet, is upheld as if offering the ‘laddu’ : symbolic of all the boons – all good and positive, to the world, while with the gesture of the left : symbolising annihilation in Indian iconographical tradition, he seems to restrain evil and subdue it. His face, or the body-part over the neck, tilted a little to right, creates a rhythm that is the characteristic feature of his iconography in his ‘tri-bhanga’ – three-curved posture, one of his main iconographic forms.

The figure of the child Krishna has been conceived with a well-built anatomy. Except the pointed slightly protruding chin the face is almost roundish and glows with divine aura. A sharp proportionately conceived nose, large thoughtful eyes with wide-stretched eye-brows, small cute lips and a broad forehead except what of it the ornamental band covers, define his iconography. Though without his usual ‘pitambara’ – yellow wear on his person, a wide range of ornaments cover his figure from head to feet. His hair has been artistically dressed forming a flat ribbed dome-like rounded knot the top of which a peacock-feather motif crests and a beaded lace with a pendant in the centre contains. Besides the usual ‘kundalas’ – ear-ornaments, that comprise an essential feature of almost all Vaishnava images the child Krishna has on his forehead the Vaishnava ‘tilaka’, the auspicious mark with the lamp-flame like shape.

The image has been installed on a two-tiered pedestal, the lower part, comprising stylised lotus motifs, rising in taper, and the upper, a plain moulding with edged apex. The most ornate part of the statue is its beautifully designed ‘prabhavali’ – fire-arch, conceived and cast using a wide range of motifs representing various traditions, both auspicious and artistic, and design-patterns. Typical of South Indian model of ‘prabhavali’, its lower part comprises dwarf-pillars on both sides on which rests the circular arch. Besides their broad architectural character, the dwarf-pillars comprise mask-motifs and mythical lion figures. The figures of mythical elephants with floral-vine tails top the dwarf-pillars and support on their backs the multi tired ‘prabhavali’ topped by an elaborate and highly evolved ‘kirtimukha’ motif. Almost a three-fourth circle, the rest of the ‘prabhavali’ comprises vivid design-patterns from courses of beads to floral arabesques.

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.

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