Shiva Nataraja

DATE:
11th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Bronze
CLASSIFICATION:
Sculpture
DIMENSIONS:
34 1/2 × 28 1/4 × 9 3/4 in. (87.63 × 71.76 × 24.77 cm) Weight: 105 lb. (47.6273 kg)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of Asia
LOCATION:
306 HINDU GALLERY
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, the Hamon Charitable Foundation, and an anonymous donor in honor of David T. Owsley, with additional funding from The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation and the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund
COPYRIGHT:
Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art
OBJECT NUMBER:
2000.377

General Description

This sculpture depicting Shiva as Lord of the Dance was produced during the period of Chola dynasty rule, the 9th through 13th centuries, and more specifically during the 11th century. Shiva, one of the chief Hindu gods, is a very complex figure. He is the master of life, death, and rebirth; a fertility deity, worshipped in the phallic lingam; an ascetic yogi; and the loving husband of his wife, Parvati. As Nataraja, or lord of the dance, Shiva dances the grand rhythm of the entire universe, surrounded by a circle of flames. His hair is the Ganges River. He stamps upon the dwarf of spiritual ignorance, while his gestures promise protection and enlightenment to his worshippers.

Adapted from

  • "Shiva Nataraja," in_ Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection,_ ed. Bonnie Pitman (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012), 99.

  • F. M. Asher, "Shiva Nataraja," in The Arts of India, South East Asia, and the Himalayas, Anne R. Bromberg (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 75-76.

Related Multimedia

Fun Facts

The tenth-century visionary, Sandarar, said about Shiva:

He dances, a whirl

Of motion,

The great lord

Bearing fire, crowned

With the crescent and with Ganga

As his golden anklets chime

And his serpents dance, too.