Krishna and Radha
Artist/maker unknown, India
Krishna offers betel nut to his beloved Radha and envelops her in a gentle embrace in this unusually large composition. Their union is often interpreted as a metaphor for the joining of the earthly realm (Radha) with the divine (Krishna). Although Krishna is a cowherd and Radha a village woman, they wear elaborate robes and precious jewels. Their intricate ornamentation—from the flower on Radha’s forehead to the anklet visible beneath Krishna’s robe—elevates them to royal status, hints at their amorous relationship, and emphasizes their divine identities.