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Nataraja, Lord of the Dance
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Тhis bronze figure, cast in a single piece, is both a creative and a technical masterpiece. It depicts the Hindu god Shiva as Nataraja, the lord of the dance. Nataraja figures, which are placed in temple shrines and paraded during festivals, were particularly popular during the Chola dynasty in Tamil Nadu in the tenth to twelfth centuries.

Shiva as Nataraja appears at the end of one cosmic cycle and the beginning of the next, associated with both creation and destruction. In one hand he holds fire, symbolizing destruction, and in another the double-sided drum which summons up new creation. Nestling in his hair is the small figure of the goddess Ganga, the personification of the holy River Ganges. Also visible in his hair are the crescent moon and the intoxicating datura flower, both closely associated with his wild nature. Beneath his foot he tramples the dwarf of ignorance, Apasmara.

Nataraja, Lord of the Dance


From Tamil Nadu, southern India, Chola dynasty, c. AD 1100
Ht 89.5 cm



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