Essay Example on The sculpture of Nataraja Meaning

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This essay will focus on the sculpture of Nataraja meaning The King of Dance The sculpture represents one of the three major deities of Hindu religion called Lord Shiva It centres around the idea of Lord Shiva being the creator and destroyer of the world The reason I chose this sculpture is because I want to gain more knowledge of the spiritual and religious messages connected to the sculpture as well as understand its importance to Hinduism In my opinion the sculpture is very beautiful and detailed it shows Shiva with four arms and two legs in a dance posture known as Nataraja The name comes from one of the oldest languages in India known as Sanskrit The term Nata convey to dance and Raja to king meaning king of dance The height of the sculpture is 48cm by 36cm and every single features of his cosmic dance posture signifies the creation and destruction of the world The figure of Lord Shiva stands within a circle of flames and it is seen as the endless cycle of birth and rebirth within this Shiva dances to his cosmic dance of bliss The two stretched out upper hands of Shiva are positioned to reveal the sense of balance between the powers of creation and destruction In his right upper hand Shiva holds a drum shaped like an hourglass it provides the sound of rhythm to which Shiva dances But it is also represented as the drum which made the first sound and summoned things into existence In contrast his upper left hand holds flame of fire which characterises destruction since his role in Hindu religion is to destroy the world in order to reproduce it Both of the hands are on the same level signifying that creation and destruction are both equal The lower right hand makes the gesture Be without Fear with the palm outward it can be signified as a blessing and hope from both evil and ignorance His lower left hand is stretched diagonally across his chest pointing to his elegantly raised left leg


This implies that he will take care of everything and give freedom to those who come and surrender at his feet The right leg which he stands on is firmly stamping down on a demon of evil and ignorance this is symbolic of overpowering the darkness and Shiva s victory over evil He has a snake swirling around his upper arms and necks signifying the control he has over one of the most lethal creatures of the world Another way which the snake represents Shiva s destruction and reincarnation concept is by its natural process of shedding its skin In Hindu religion people believe that snake shedding their skin is symbolic to human souls transferring to one life to another after death One of the oldest Nataraja sculptures was found in the Chola Dynasty circa 11th century which had the longest period of ruling in the history of Southern India But this particular Nataraja sculpture was brought from a store in Kerala South India and the material used to make this is Bronze which is a mixture of copper and tin The sculpture feels very smooth and strong it displays an elaborate amount of decorative details such as the fine outlines and the carved details on the figure The technique which might be performed to make this sculpture can be the lost wax method where a wax model is made in order to cover it with layers of mould After that the wax will be melted leaving a hollow to pour the melted Bronze In my understanding this sculpture was made and designed in Kerala South India about 15 to 20 years ago but the artist of this sculpture is unknown A sculpture like this one might have cost between hundred to two hundred pounds Since the sculpture is one of the most known images of Lord Shiva the prices can vary depending on the material size and the making process


The Chola Dynasty was a time of artistic growth and the Nataraja sculptures were largely produced by the craftsmen although only the privileged classes such as royals could view it However times have changed nowadays it can be seen in houses temples museums and stores across the world also the sculpture is especially used in occasions like festivals and in religious processions to represent the god In conclusion I think the purpose of this sculpture was to show a different side of Lord Shiva because he is usually seen as the destroyer of the world in Hindu religion and is constantly portrayed in an angry mode However this Nataraja sculpture can be seen as a message that through the divine act of cosmic dancing he was able to overcome the evil and ignorance Thus showing Lord Shiva in a more positive and purifying way Even though I understand the meaning and significances behind the Nataraja sculpture of Lord Shiva there is still some questions which I have not found the answers to For example I would like to know why the figure has a feminine touch to it as well as know the name of the artist who made this sculpture


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