Shiva Nataraja

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The statues of Shiva Nataraja, also known as Shiva as the Lord of Dance, came from the sculptors of the south Indian Chola dynasty. These statues, from the late tenth and early eleventh centuries, are some of the most significant icons from the Hindu religion. This important symbol bears all of the characteristics that Shiva represents: creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe.
This religious piece of art, made using the ‘lost-wax’ method of sculpting, has gotten a lot more prominent since the twentieth century. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy wrote an essay in 1912 explaining the significance of the Shiva Nataraja, and why it was an important statue to the Hindu religion, but in a very different representation. After this essay, Hindu people
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The symbols all mean different things, with one outcome at the end. Starting with the pair of Shiva’s hands holding objects, they contain two objects that mean the exact opposite of each other. In his left hand, he holds fire. The fire signifies the destruction of the universe, samasara (the cycle of death and rebirth), and of maya, or illusion. According to Hindu mythology, Shiva destroys everything at the end of each cosmic cycle. In Hindu mythology, fire is the method of annihilation at the end of each cosmic cycle. This is why Shiva of Nataraja holds a flame, and reason for the ring of fire that surrounds him.
In the right hand of the sculpture, is a two-sided drum. This not only beats the rhythm of Shiva Nataraja’s dance, but beats to the rhythm of creation. According to Malaysia Hundudharma Mamandram, the drum, called an udukkai, “…represents sound as the first element of an unfolding universe” (A Comparison to Asian Art and
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According to A Comparison to Asian Art and Culture, Coomaraswamy was the person who changed the Hindu’s beliefs about the Shiva Nataraja. Before this change of understanding, people thought that deities were “…monstrous, baby-killing devils” (A Comparison to Asian Art and Culture). Another belief that Coomaraswamy reversed was that of Shiva Nataraja destroying the universe – not for evil, but because destruction is necessary for life to occur, in the cosmic cycle. Shiva is a deity who delivers people from ignorance and ego.
The deity of Shiva itself appears in many different representations, depending on what religion is present. In different Asian cultures, Shiva is portrayed in numerous forms, but bears some of the same characteristics no matter the culture. Some of these include being partially naked, a headdress with a crescent moon and a skull, his arms in the same positions, and him standing on a dwarf. Another common representation of Shiva is in the meditation posture. Some of the characteristics from that pose are his right leg being folded in front of the left, and holding a rosary in his right

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