Philadelphia Museum of Art - Collections Object : Krishna Dances and Holds Aloft Two Stolen Balls of Butter

Krishna Dances and Holds Aloft Two Stolen Balls of Butter

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Odisha, India, Asia

c. 17th century

Copper alloy

8 1/2 × 5 × 3 3/8 inches (21.6 × 12.7 × 8.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994

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In devotional Hinduism, the soul's love of god is often envisioned as the total and all-forgiving love of a mother for her son. As a toddler, Krishna was very fond of dairy products-so much so that he would steal his adoptive mother Yashoda's freshly churned butter. As a precautionary measure, Yashoda stored her butter in containers suspended from the ceiling, presumably out of young Krishna's reach. The mischievous god was not deterred: he would simply stack pots on top of one another until he could reach the prize. Here he dances jubilantly, having succeeded in purloining two balls of butter.