Ancient Funan Giri Govardhan Krishna – 600 AD

By The Met Fifth Avenue

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As described in the Bhagavata Purana, the youthful Krishna miraculously raises Mount Govardhan, near Mathura in northern India, to protect the villagers and cowherds from a great rainstorm sent by Indra. The sculptor of this image, active in the Phnom Da workshops, clearly understood the essence of his subject. It is evident that this sculpture evolved from a long-standing local tradition, which, by the seventh century, had surpassed any Indian prototypes that were remembered. A twelfth-century Phnom Da inscription credits a group of seven cult images to the patronage of an early Funan ruler and lists a Krishna Govardhana in the group. This sculpture is likely one of those works.

Recovered in 1944 from a cave at Phnom Da, Angkor Borei, Takeo province, southern Cambodia.

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