South India Bronze Figure of Shiva Nataraja, Tamil Nadu
8 1/8 x 5 3/4 x 2 1/2 in.
Note: The Shiva Nataraja depicts the Hindu god Shiva as the cosmic ecstatic dancer. His dance is called the tandavam or nadanta depending on the context of the dance. This bronze depicts Shiva as the Lord of dance and dramatic arts, shown in the typical natya shastra pose. He is holding fire in his back left hand, the front hand in elephant or stick hand, the front right hand with a wrapped snake that is in fear not mudra while pointing to a Sutra text, and the back hand holding a musical instrument. He is surrounded by a ring of flames, standing on a lotus pedestal, lifting his left leg and balancing over a demon shown as a dwarf who symbolized ignorance. The dynamism of the energetic dance is shown through movement of the hair. Shiva is performing the dance during which the universe is created, maintained and dissolved. The symbolism of the Shiva Nataraja has been variously interpreted by scholars since the Chola empire era.
Very minor oxidation and surface residue. A small crack on the base and a loss on the bottom right section of the base.
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