Standing with a symmetrical landscape of yellow flowering creepers emerging from the greenery of trees, Radha, holding Krishna's flute, has donned her divine lover's peacock-feather crown and saffron-colored dhoti. Blue-complexioned Krishna, in turn, wears Radha's earrings, red skirt, blouse, and transparent shawl. Holding hands, the two gaze into one another's eyes.

This unique visual motif of the clothing exchange serves as a metaphor for Radha and Krishna's shared essence. Radha's and Krishna's donning of each other's garments signifies that the two are identical, as is suggested in this verse by an unknown poet.

She wears his peacock feather,
he dons her lovely, delicate crown;
She sports his yellow garment,
he wraps himself in her beautiful sari
How charming the very sight of it. . .
The daughter of Vrsabhanu [Radha] turns [into] Nanda's son [Krishna],
and Nanda's son, Vrsabhanu's girl.
(Srivasta Goswami, trans. The Divine Consort, 87)


Radha and Krishna Dressed in Each Other's Clothes
Radha and Krishna Dressed in Each Other's Clothes (Lilahava).
India, Punjab Hills, Kangra, 18th century. Opaque watercolor on paper. Lent by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Don and Corky Whitaker.