This shrine hanging was made for display during the Autumn Moon festival, sharad purnima. Nathdvara artists specialise in devotional imagery related to legends of Krishna’s life, particularly the backdrops [pichhavai] that furnish shrines in the town’s sprawling temple.
The exuberant Dance of love celebrates Krishna’s legendary dance with the milkmaids, gopis, of his village. When Krishna was a young man, he enticed the gopis to leave their homes and dance with him in the forest under the full moon. Playing the flute, Krishna appears many times in the image to represent the way in which he multiplied himself so that each woman believed she was with him alone.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label