Shiva Nataraja

Illustration

Mark Cartwright
by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
published on 01 September 2015

An 11th century CE bronze sculpture of Shiva Nataraja - Lord of the Dance. The Hindu god is represented in his triple role as Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. He stands within a flaming halo representing Time, which is cyclical and has no end. He has one foot on the dwarf figure apasmara purusha who represents illusion and who leads men away from truth. He holds in his top left hand the fire (agni) which will destroy the universe and in his top right hand the drum (damaru) which made the first sounds of the creation. The lower right hand makes the abhayamudra gesture which calms all fear and the lower left hand points to his left foot, symbol of salvation. (Musée Guimet, Paris)

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