Venugopala triad

Venugopala with consorts

This is Venugopala or Ganagopala, Krishna playing the flute. Krishna is an avatar of Vishnu and here he is seen holding Vishnu’s attributes Chakra and Shankha in his rear hands. Krishna is standing in tribhanga supported on his left leg. The right leg crosses over to the left and supported by his toe. with The cows are listening to his music and give him the name Gopala, protector of cows.

Venugopala and consorts backVenugopala is accompanied by his consorts. Krishna’s consorts are Rukmini and Satyabhama. The iconography of his consorts in this example is close to that of Vishnu’s consorts, Sri Devi and Bhu Devi (breast band, the holding of lotus and lily). An example of this iconography could be found in Elements of Hindu Iconography by T A G Rao, Volume 1, Part 1, Plate LXII fig 2. A more easily accessible example, with two armed Krishna, is in Norton Simon Museum, Accession no F1972.45.03.5.

Rukmini and Satyabhama are identified as Sri Devi and Bhu Devi respectively. Given that Krishna here has taken Vishnu’s attributes, the iconography makes sense.

Krishna’s long garland, going below the knees, is Vanamala. It is normally seen on Vishnu images from North India.

Krishna’s height is about 11.5 cm and the consort’s height is about 9.8 cm. This is from South India and maybe from Karnataka. This may date to the nineteenth century.



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