The ivory image of Radha Krishna is a typical Travancore depiction of a Hindu deity adorned in traditional costume and ornament, yet is European in form, posture and expression. The British attempt to encourage naturalism, or the realistic portrayal of nature, is evident in the dancing figure of Radha and Krishna. Note the balletic pose and drapery, the cooing doves and foliage that are reminescent of European style.

The Official Catalogue of the Delhi Exhibition published in 1903 by George Watt describes ivory carving from Travancore as having attained the “foremost position among the ivories in India”. Many popular bazaars and markets in Bombay stocked and sold ivory carvings from Travancore and Southern India, well into the 1950s and 1960s, when curators from the Museum purchased ivory carvings from Swadeshi Market and Khadi Village Industries Emporium in Bombay.


  • Title: Radha Krishna
  • Date: 1955
  • Location: Trivandrum (now Thiruvananthapuram)
  • Physical Dimensions: L 32.4 cm x W 15.6 cm x H 8.3, Weight 0939g
  • Material: Ivory figures on wooden base
  • Gallery: Industrial Arts Gallery

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