The great Lord Shiva stands watch over ihaloka (mortal realm of existence), only to annihilate it all in the fullness of time. There is none so powerful as Him. Through the vitality of His tandava, the name given to His cosmic dance routine, He brings the sum of drshyam (existence as we perceive it) to destruction, just so that it may take birth anew. The murti that you see on this page is of Nataraja, the master (‘raja’) of the performing arts (‘nata’). It captures the Lord in the midst of His tandava. The stance - left leg raised mid-air, the anterior hands in the abhaya and the tirodhaana mudra - is inimitable.
It is a richly detailed brass composition. Overtones of a moist, earthy green define the naked complexion of His body. The same is superimposed with deep gold colour to convey minimal attire (a fitted loincloth), a complex engraved crown, and lotus petals embossed around the body of the multi-tiered plinth. The traditional iconography of Nataraja being intact - the flying locks, the snake nestling in the crease of His elbow, and the ringlet of flames surrounding the dancing figure - the USP of this work lies in the delicate, supple finish despite the metal medium. Note the curve of the Lord’s feet, the silhouette of His long limbs, the flawless lines that define His eyes.
The avidya-roopi Apasmara, personification (‘roopi’) of ignorance (‘avidya’), is crushed under the single foot of Nataraja: a powerful image of the triumph of dharma and the destruction of adharma.
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