His avatar as Nataraj, the cosmic dancer is especially evocative.. brimming as it does with energy and power, it lends a sense of oneness with the universe through dance. (Another Shiv avatar I am fascinated by is the Ardhanareshwar)
As a symbol, Shiv Nataraj is a brilliant invention. It combines in a single image, Shiv’s roles as creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe and conveys the Hindu conception of the never-ending cycle of time. Although it appeared in sculpture as early as the fifth century, its present, world-famous form evolved under the rule of the Cholas. Shiv’s dance is set within a flaming halo with metaphors for every “mudra” of his.
~The God holds in his upper right hand the damru (hand drum that made the first sounds of creation).
~His upper left hand holds agni (the fire that will destroy the universe).
~With his lower right hand, he makes abhayamudra (the gesture that allays fear).
~His right foot tramples apasmara purusha (illusion, which leads mankind astray).
~Shiv’s front left hand, pointing to his raised left foot, signifies refuge for the troubled soul.
~The energy of his dance makes his hair fly to the sides.
~The third eye/inner eye that I have rendered in white is a metaphor for perception beyond ordinary sight, a gate that leads to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness.
This mixed media painting of The Nataraj uses acrylics, paper, fibre paste on canvas amongst other materials. The entire body is made from fibre paste, so it’s sculpted. This much sculpting, that too of the anatomy was new to me and challenging as well.. but that’s where the fun lies.
Hope you enjoy it 🙂
[Acknowledgements: Metropolitan Museum of Art & Wikipedia]