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Paintings > South Indian > Lord Krishna Overpowers And Dances Atop Kaliya's Hood
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Lord Krishna Overpowers And Dances Atop Kaliya's Hood

Lord Krishna Overpowers And Dances Atop Kaliya's Hood

Lord Krishna Overpowers And Dances Atop Kaliya's Hood

Murals distinguish the folk art of Kerala. A fine tradition to be found in the temples and palaces dotting the Malabar coast, the earliest examples are to be found in Tirunandikkara and Tiruvanchikulam, dated from the ninth to the twelfth centuries. The one you see on this page is a contemporary specimen of this ancient means of art, and conforms to the post-fifteenth century style of Kerala murals. Done on canvas for portability (murals are characterised by the permanence of the chosen medium), it depicts an ethereal image of the Lord Krishna. Like the range of ancient artistic expressions practised in the subcontinent, the themes are predominantly spiritual, to which rule this handpicked Kerala mural is no exception.

It depicts the Lord's much-celebrated victory over the multi-hooded naga (snake) namely Kaliya, who was banished by Lord Garuda to a corner of the Yamuna river. He grabs the serpent-villain by the tail and dances over his helpless hood, leaving His footmarks on the vanquished one. The waters of the dishevelled Yamuna swirl around them as witness to this historic episode. The same have been depicted with simple cloud-like curves filled in with a powdery blue blending out into white. The vibrant colour palette of the Lord's form in the foreground makes a powerful, aesthetic statement. The shocks of fiery orange vines that flank His expressive face, His superbly gathered composure in the midst of battling evil, and the matching peacock feather-crested crown and shringar, complete the picture of Hinduism's most charming deva.

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Kerala Mural

19.5 inch x 27.8 inch
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