Nataraja – 11-09-2023


    Syllabus: GS-1/Culture

    In News

    • The world’s tallest bronze statue of Nataraja, weighing 20 tonnes, has been installed at Bharat Mandapam, the venue of the G20 summit in Delhi.


    • The artisans from Swamimalai in Kumbakonam in Tamil nadu constructed it using “ashta dhatu”, a blend of eight metals, with copper as the primary component at 87%.
    • The eight metals used in its construction are copper, zinc, lead, tin, silver, gold, mercury and iron.

    Lost Wax Casting Process

    • The sculpture has been made using traditional ‘lost wax’ casting process, adhering to ancient canons and measurements prescribed in the Shilpa Shastra or the science of sculpturing, which have guided the creation of Nataraja sculptures since the Chola period.
    • The intricate fabrication process involves several stages, including creation of a clay armature figure to serve as the support structure; application of a wax layer on top of the clay armature; addition of detailing and elaborate finishing and polishing.

    • Nataraja is Lord Shiva in his dynamic dance posture, called “tandava”, which in a single pose captures Shiva’s roles as creator, preserver, and destroyer.
    • The two most common forms of Shiva’s dance are the
      Lasya (the gentle form of dance), associated with the creation of the world, and
      Ananda Tandava (dance of bliss, the vigorous form of dance), associated with the destruction of weary worldviews—weary perspectives and lifestyles.

      Features of Nataraja Sculpture
    • On the forearm of his right hand is placed a bhujanga-valaya which is a bracelet shaped like a coiled snake.
    • The left leg of Nataraja is raised diagonally towards the right one with its foot up in the air denoting the path of salvation.
    • The image of Shiva is encircled in a prabhamandala, that is the circle of fire.
    • Adorning the head of the lord is a crown of coiled hair (jatamukuta), embellished with the river Goddess Ganga, a snake, jewels, flowers, a crescent moon, and a human skull.
    • Several jatas emerge from the crown on either side spreading horizontally, touching the prabhamandala.


    • Shiva is adorned with a pearl necklace, a yajnopavita that is a sacred thread, urassutra (a chest band), rings, anklets, and a Makara-kundala in the right ear and Patra-kundala on his left ear.
    • Makara-kundala refers to an earring shaped like a Makara that is a mythical fish-like creature, while
    • Patra-kundela refers to earrings shaped as coconut or palmyra leaves.

      Source: IE