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Asian art

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Circular dance of Krishna and the 'gopis'

circa 1850


Unknown Artist


This painting hums with the joyous melodies and rhythms of ‘bhakti’, total surrender to Lord Krishna. Depicted is the circular dance, the ‘rasalila’, in which each ‘gopi’ imagines that Krishna dances with her alone. In the central orb Krishna and Radha dance in bliss surrounded by peacocks, each flanked by adoring peahens. In an outer ring Krishna dances simultaneously with all the other ‘gopis’, each dressed in their finest robes. Their dance is presented as a glowing mandala within a forest clearing, watched by musicians, holy men and devotees, and blessed with flower petals dispersed from heaven.

‘Goddess: divine energy’, AGNSW 2006, pg.55.


Other Titles


Circular dance of Krishna and the milkmaids

Place where the work was made

Bundi Rajasthan India


circa 1850

Media categories

Painting , Watercolour

Materials used

opaque watercolour with gold on paper


61.0 x 80.0 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased 1995


Not on display

Accession number


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

The provenance of this work is under review and records will be updated as new details become available. The Gallery welcomes any information. Contact


Art of the Past, pre Jun 1995, United States of America

Referenced in 7 publications


B.N. Goswamy, Goddess: Divine Energy, 'Radha: from beloved to goddess', pg. 43-65, Sydney, 2006, 54 (colour illus.), 55. 31

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: South Asia', pg. 288-297, Sydney, 1999, 294 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Mughals and Maharajas: The Miniature Paintings of Courtly India', Sydney, 2003, 42-43 (colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 43 is a detail of this work.

Jackie Menzies, Arts of Asia, 'New Dimensions', pg. 54-63, Hong Kong, Nov 2003-Dec 2003, 56 (colour illus.). no.4

Pratapaditya Pal and Pratapaditya Pal, Dancing to the flute: music and dance in Indian art, Sydney, 1997, 9 (colour illus.), 94, 96. 44c, detail: 44d

Haema Sivanesan, Indian painting, 'Indian Painting', verso of poster., Sydney, 2001. 2.28

Editor Unknown (Editor), Margaret Olley Art Trust, Sydney, circa 1994, back (colour illus.).