The Kalinga Nardhana Krishna is the quintessential image of the triumph of dharma over adharma. When the wicked serpent, Kalinga or Kaliya, had made a home for itself in the Yamuna and none of the inhabitants of Braj could access its beauty and nourishment due to his presence, it was the great Lord Krishna who acted as saviour. In a brutal battle between the divine and the serpentine, the conqueror is known to have danced (‘nardhana’) on the hood of the vanquished.
The sculpture that you see on this page captures the Lord in His moment of triumph. He is on the hood of Kalinga, breaking into a dance of victory: the left leg is bent at the knee, the right foot raised in the air in a harmonious stance. Lord Krishna single-handedly overpowers Kalinga by the end of His tail. The other hand He raises in blessing over the devotees in Braj. From the angle of the neck to the undulating musculature of His torso, there is a certain dynamism in the language of His form.
A degree of complexity and detail characterises this composition: the planes and angles of the multi-tiered plinth, the crown and adornments of the Lord. The smokey colour finish of the panchaloha medium adds to the solemnity of the theme.
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