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Jonathan Tucker Antonia Tozer Asian Art

WOODEN SECTION FROM A TYMPANUM
NEPAL
17TH - 18TH CENTURY
H. 68 CMS, 26 ¾ INS
W. 115 CMS, 45 INS

A remarkable wooden section from a tympanum depicting Krishna playing his flute and supported by a pair of naked gopis.

Tympanums are typical features of traditional Nepali architecture and are situated above a door or window. The story of Krishna (an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu), his early life as a cowherd and his magnetic appeal to the women he encounters is an enormously popular theme in Indian literature and art. Krishna is often shown playing his flute while female cowherds, known as gopis, attend him. Despite the fact that it was sculpted in the 17th or 18th century, this sensuous carving has a remarkably ‘contemporary’ feel. It is reminiscent of a number of early 20th century European paintings; most notably Henri Matisse’s celebrated work ‘The Dance’.

For a complete tympanum see cat. no. S57 in P. Pal, Art of Nepal: A Catalogue of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Collection, LACMA and University of California Press, 1985.

PROVENANCE: Private French collection.

all text & images Jonathan Tucker Antonia Tozer Asian Art

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