12th Century Nataraja Artefact

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    • Recently, as many as 157 artefacts and antiquities were handed over including a bronze Nataraj figure by the United States during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit.
      • Mostly belonged to the period between the 11th and 14th centuries.

    About Nataraja

    • Nataraja (Lord of the Dance), the Hindu God Shiva in his form as the cosmic dancer, is represented in metal or stone in many Shaivite temples, particularly in South India.
      • It is an important piece of CHOLA sculpture.
    • The upper right-hand holds the drum, which signifies the sound of creation. All creations spring from the great sound of the damru.
    • The upper left-hand holds the eternal fire, which represents destruction. Destruction is the precursor and inevitable counterpart of creation.
    • The lower right hand is raised in the gesture of Abhay mudra signifying benediction and reassuring the devotee to not be afraid.
    • The lower left-hand points towards the upraised foot and indicates the path of salvation.
    • Shiva is dancing on the figure of a small dwarf. The dwarf symbolises ignorance and the ego of an individual.
    • Shiva is shown as the source of all movement within the cosmos and as the god whose doomsday dance, represented by the arch of flames, accompanies the dissolution of the universe at the end of an eon.
    • The matted and flowing locks of Shiva represent the flow of the river Ganges.
    • In ornamentation, one ear of Shiva has a male earring while the other has a female. This represents the fusion of male and female and is often referred to as Ardhanarishvara.

     Image Courtesy: a glimpse of history

    • A snake is twisted around the arm of Shiva. The snake symbolises the kundalini power, which resides in the human spine in the dormant stage. If aroused, one can attain true consciousness.
    • The Nataraja is surrounded by a nimbus of glowing lights which symbolises the vast unending cycles of time.

    Source: IE