Here, Krishna lifts Mount Govardhana and represents the god as mankind’s savior: by lifting the mountain, he provided his followers with shelter from torrential rains and flooding. The Phnom Da
style that the figure illustrates is the earliest phase of Cambodian art and a prototype for later Cambodian sculpture. This image is extremely rare; only a few sculptures of the early Phnom Da style are known-most of which are now in the collection of Cambodia’s National Museum of Phnom Penh.
Lee’s discriminating taste recognized Krishna Govardhana as a sculptural masterpiece: the plasticity of the body, its physical beauty, and the spiritual content reflect the influence of the classical Indian Gupta style, which inspired Phnom Da sculpture. This relationship becomes more evident when comparing Krishna with the male figures depicted on the Plate with a Scene of Revelry (1972.71).