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Shiva’s Nataraja form

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: IE 

Context: The G20 Leaders’ Summit will feature a towering 27-foot-tall ‘Nataraja’ statue of Lord Shiva’s dancing form.

  • This magnificent statue made of ‘Ashtadhatu’ (eight-metal alloy) was crafted by sculptors from Swamimalai in Tamil Nadu, India, and is inspired by three revered Nataraja idols from Chola temples.


About Nataraja form of Shiva: 

  • The Nataraja form of Shiva, as a cosmic dancer, became iconic under the Cholas and is renowned for its intricate bronze sculptures.
  • In this form, Lord Shiva is depicted as the ‘Lord of Dance’ or Nataraja, embodying both creative and destructive forces.
  • The Nataraja image is encircled by a flaming halo and has four arms. He holds a drum and fire in his upper hands, symbolizing creation and destruction. Under his foot, there’s a dwarf-like figure representing illusion, which he crushes, guiding humanity away from delusion.
  • Nataraja’s raised feet and gestures also symbolize protection and reassurance, all while he wears a smiling expression.


Lost Wax Technique:

  • The sculpture was crafted using the traditional ‘lost-wax’ casting method, a technique that dates back thousands of years and was perfected by the Cholas.
  • In this method, a detailed wax model is covered with alluvial soil, which, when heated, melts the wax away, leaving a hollow mould for casting molten metal.

The Cholas, who ruled much of peninsular India from the 9th to the 11th centuries AD, were great patrons of art and culture. They were devout Shaivites, known for constructing elaborate Shiva temples across their territories.