This moderately sized brass statue represents Shiva as engaged in an ecstatic dance known in the Shaivite iconographical tradition as Ananda-tandava, the dance of dissolution, the ultimate cosmic act he delights in performing. It is around Shiva that the tradition perceives the entire cosmic cycle rotating: the lifeless matter – ‘Prakriti’, he – the ‘purusha’, breathed life into, the chaotic ‘nada’ – the sound that stormed space by its deafening noise, arrested into his ‘damaru’ – double drum, and released structured revealing diction and linguistic discipline, phonetic forms, and ‘meaning’, and the unruly pace arrested into his legs to reveal regulated into the form of dance generating energy to annihilate and dissolve, and the beauty, to delight.
Thus, it is in dance that Shiva discovered his ultimate instrument to
create, dissolve and delight: the source of ultimate energy and
entire beauty, attributing to him the epithets like Natesh and
Nataraja, both meaning ‘the king of stage performers or the supreme
performer of dance, the apex of stage-craft. Shiva – the ‘Purusha’ or
the ‘enlivening self’, danced to delight Parvati – ‘Prakriti’,
infusing life into lifeless matter whereby the ‘unmanifest’ manifests
and the creation evolves. The tradition classified this form of dance
as ‘lasya’ – the dance manifesting aesthetic beauty. Shiva danced to
annihilate and destroy as for destroying Tripura – the three cities of
demons, and the three demon brothers ruling them. As against this one-time act of annihilation his dance to dissolve is incessant. If a new
shoot infused with life and beauty manifests Shiva’s ‘lasya’, the fall
of the pale leaf manifests dissolution, his dance to dissolve, an ever-continuing process in which he delights, and hence while his dance to
annihilate is the outcome of his ‘raudra’ – wrathful form, his act to
dissolve is ‘Ananda’ – the ultimate ecstatic delight.
While a form of Shiva’s wrathful dance performed to annihilate a
particular evil has not been specifically classified and named, or
each form is known by a different name, as his Three Cities destroying
form as Tripurantaka – Shiva who destroyed three cities, his dance to
dissolve is universally acknowledged as ‘Ananda Tandava’, and the
imagery representing this form has been almost completely rigidified.
Alike, the term ‘Nataraja’, otherwise a common epithet denotative of
his status as the king of performers including dancers have also
rigidified to represent his Ananda-tandava form. This powerful image
of Lord Shiva, passionately engaged in a dance with his left leg fixed
on the pedestal, not on the figure of Apasamarapurusha, a subordinate
icon symbolising inertia or forgetfulness usually appearing in
Nataraja iconography, and the right, turned backward, almost to
hundred eighty degrees, has been installed inside a fire-arch rising
from a pedestal consisting of moulded base and is topped by a
Shri-mukha motif representing good and auspiciousness. In
Ananda-tandava statues Apasamarapurusha denotes the state after
dissolution has completed its task. It usually carries a lotus in its
hands indicative of the creative process to commence in the future. This
statue comprises instead a pedestal consisting of building
components decorated with floral designs, all indicative of the creative
Except for the non-inclusion of the figure of the Apasamarapurusha icon, this brass cast almost completely adheres to Shiva’s Ananda-tandava
iconography. It is the usual four-armed image holding in upper ones a
double drum and flames of fire – the essence of Ananda-tandava
iconography, further emphasized by the flames’ multiple repeats
appearing on the outer edge of the fire-arch. The normal right and
left hands have been cast as denoting dissolution. The pace of
movement is the essence of Ananda-tandava and the flames of fire that
fast friction creates its manifestation. These flames symbolise the explosion of ultimate cosmic energy and its dynamics, which
Ananda-tandava generates. There enshrines on the figure’s face a divine
bearing and in its form – locks of hair scattered over shoulders,
blown up muscles, contained belly, glowing face …, the ecstasy of
dance. With excellent anatomical proportions, well-defined features, and elaborate ornamentation: a gorgeous crown alternating the usual
‘jata-mukuta’, the modeling and iconographic perfection of Shiva’s
figure is absolute. The three-tiered fire-arch consists of an inner
lotus ring, a centre with the floral course, and an outer circle consisting
of flame motifs.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes in the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr. Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi.
How to keep a Brass statue well-maintained?
Brass statues are known and appreciated for their exquisite beauty and luster. The brilliant bright gold appearance of Brass makes it appropriate for casting aesthetic statues and sculptures. Brass is a metal alloy composed mainly of copper and zinc. This chemical composition makes brass a highly durable and corrosion-resistant material. Due to these properties, Brass statues and sculptures can be kept both indoors as well as outdoors. They also last for many decades without losing all their natural shine.
Brass statues can withstand even harsh weather conditions very well due to their corrosion-resistance properties. However, maintaining the luster and natural beauty of brass statues is essential if you want to prolong their life and appearance.
In case you have a colored brass statue, you may apply mustard oil using a soft brush or clean cloth on the brass portion while for the colored portion of the statue, you may use coconut oil with a cotton cloth.
Brass idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses are especially known for their intricate and detailed work of art. Nepalese sculptures are famous for small brass idols portraying Buddhist deities. These sculptures are beautified with gold gilding and inlay of precious or semi-precious stones. Religious brass statues can be kept at home altars. You can keep a decorative brass statue in your garden or roof to embellish the area and fill it with divinity.
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