Among Krishna's heroic exploits as a child at Vrindàvana was the subjugation of Kaliya, king of the serpents, who had taken up the river Yamuna as his abode. When Kaliya's poison began to affect the creatures living nearby, Krishna sprang onto Kaliya's hood and danced on it until the exhausted serpent begged for mercy. Krishna then spared Kaliya's life, but commanded him to return to the ocean, his original habitat.
The sculpture - Having seized the serpent's winding tail in his raised left hand, Krishna dances with his knees bent, one foot planted firmly on the serpent's hood, the other striking it with his toes. The right hand grants freedom from fear.
Krishna wears a short loincloth and the usual jewellery, including belled anklets, which are rendered here with crystalline sharpness, as is the main necklace. The tall coiffure consists of curled ringlets secured by a simple fillet with a looped ribbon in the center. The face is childlike and innocent, as though the heroic deed was merely play!