Child Saint Sambandar

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 2

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At A Glance

On View
  • Period

    12th century
  • Geography

    Tamil Nadu state, India
  • Material

  • Dimension

    H x W x D (overall): 48.6 x 43.5 x 17.3 cm (19 1/8 x 17 1/8 x 6 13/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Previous custodian or owner

    William H. Wolff, Inc. (1906-1991)
  • Provenance

    Reported to have been with a private collector or art dealer in Singapore [1]
    William H. Wolff, Inc., New York, purchased from an unidentified individual or art dealer in Singapore [2]
    From 1976
    Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from William H. Wolff, Inc. [3]
    [1] In a letter dated February 15, 1974 from William H. Wolff (d.1991) of William H. Wolff, Inc., New York City addressed the Freer Gallery of Art director, Harold P. Stern (1923-1977) and presented the bronze image of "Dancing Krishna (Balakrishna)" [sic] as a purchase consideration. In his letter to the museum, Wolff stated that he had "purchased the object in Singapore, however, I was told that it was excavated on the land of a South Indian nobleman within the last four or five years [approx.1969-1970] and that it is completely virgin and has never seen the light of day in India." See document in the object file.
    While the identity of the source from whom Wolff purchased this sculpture, the date of the transaction, and the original find-site is presently unknown, no records of the sculpture have currently been identified in the archives of the École Française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO) and the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP) in India, which document South Indian temple sculpture holdings onwards from 1956. Scientific examination by the National Museum of Asian Art's Conservation department has revealed evidence of long-term burial on the object's surface, and the sculpture's broken foot further suggests it was not in worship by the time it appeared on the art market.
    See reports in the object file.
    [2] See note 1.
    [3] Between May and August 1974, Harold P. Stern made inquiries with the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Extensive correspondence was exchanged with Ambassador Triloki Nath Kaul (1913-2000) and Cultural Attaché Inam Rahman, as well as with US Ambassador in New Delhi, Daniel P. Moynihan (1927-2003), and the Director of the National Museum in New Delhi, C. Sivaramamurti (1909-1983). Stern notified the Indian authorities about this sculpture and asked if any of the parties knew of a reason why the sculpture should not be acquired by the museum.
    In November 1974, Stern sent photographs of the sculpture to India for review by Dr. [N.R.] Banerjee (1922-2005), Director of Antiquities, Archaeological Survey of India through the Indian Embassy's Cultural Attaché, Mr. Rahman. Stern noted in a memo that "if we do not hear from the Embassy within the month [by December 12, 1974], the Embassy will give us the 'go-ahead' to buy it."
    In December 1974, William H. Wolff sent the sculpture to the Freer Gallery of Art as a purchase consideration. The Smithsonian Institution approved the purchase on January 6, 1976. See documents in the object file stamped "Approved by S. Dillon Ripley on December 23, 1974 (item 4, page 4 on Ripley's list)."
    See also Invoice no. 12-429-74, dated January 6, 1976, Inventory no. 12/1338 J2 issued by William H. Wolff for an 18-inch bronze statue of Dancing Krishna (Balakrishna), from the early Vijayanagar period, dateable to 13th-14th century, from the Tanjore District in South India.
    Research updated December 2, 2022
  • Origin

    Tamil Nadu state, India
  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
  • Type

  • On View

    Freer Gallery 01: Body Image: Arts of the Indian Subcontinent
  • Restrictions and Rights

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