A stunning Hoysala style carving of the Hindu god Shiva Nataraja captured as he dances his ballad of destruction. Shiva was carved in the Hoysala style originated in Halebid, India. The style is very ornate as you can plainly see from the abundance of jewelry and other ornaments that cover the entire piece as well as the spiraling vines that swirl in and out of each other in the arch of the piece. The figure of Nataraja has two deer carved into the base he is standing on. Nataraja holds a drum and agni
(fire) in his hands as he dances on the dwarf Apasmara
who represents ignorance and evil forces. By Shiva dancing on the Apasmara
he is destroying evil forces in the universe. Nataraja is surrounded by a total of 8 peacocks in the midst of vegetation plus the one directly above his head. There are two yali
's standing on both sides of the base. A yali
is a mythical beast that is a cross between a lion, an elephant and an alligator. Nataraja is painted in the rich and vibrant colors of South India often seen on their elaborate gopuram
structures in their temples. The gopurams
are painted in vibrant colors which mirror the vibrant life of south India.
"Because You love the Burning -ground, I have made a Burning-ground of my heart - That You, Dark One, hunter of the Burning-ground, May dance Your eternal dance."
~ Bengali Hymn~
The significance of the Nataraja sculpture is said to be that Shiva is shown as the source of all movement within the cosmos, represented by the arch of flames. The purpose of the dance is to release men from illusion of the idea of the "self" and of the physical world. The cosmic dance was performed in Chidambaram in South India, called the center of the universe by some Hindus. The gestures of the dance represent Shiva's five activities, creation (symbolized by the drum), protection (by the "fear not" hand gesture), destruction (by the fire), embodiment (by the foot planted on the ground), and release (by the foot held aloft).The Symbolism Behind the Nataraja Pose:
The Nataraja dances within the universe. The locks of his hair stand out in many strands as he whirls around in his dancing frenzy. His locks are decked with a crescent moon, a skull, and are interspersed with the sacred river Ganges.
Shiva's unkempt hair, a symbol of a rejection of society, shows him to be an ascetic. This contrasts with his role as a grhastha, or householder, with his wife and family.
The fiery ring surrounding Shiva, prahabhamandala, represents the universe ignorance and pain. The outer edge is fire the inner edge the waters of the oceans. Many Nataraja statues have multiple levels of fire and water. The crescent moon in his matted hair keeps Kama, the god of nightly love, alive. Through the waxing and the waning of the moon Shiva creates different seasons and rejuvenates life. The goddess of the Ganges nests in Shiva's dreadlocks. The river Ganges that flows in Nataraja's hair originally flowed in heaven. When the heavenly Ganges was needed on earth, she was unwilling to fall to earth because she realized that her fall from heaven would be too much for the earth to withstand. Shiva as Nataraja agreed to break the violent power of the sacred Ganga's fall by catching her in his tangled hair, breaking the fall with his hair on its way to the Himalayas and Northern India.
Nataraja wears a snake coiled around his upper arms and neck symbolizing the power he has over the most deadly of creatures. Snakes are also used to symbolize the Hindu dogma of reincarnation. Their natural process of molting or shedding their skin is symbolic of the human souls' transmigration of bodies from one life to another.
In the back right hand Shiva holds an hour glass shaped drum or damaru. The drum represents the rhythmic sound to which Nataraja dances and ceaselessly recreates the universe. The front right hand is in the abhaya-mudra (the "fear not" gesture, made by holding the palm outward with fingers pointing up).
The back left hand carries agni (fire) in a vessel or in his hand. The flames represent the destructive energy with which Nataraja dances at the end of each cosmic age, cleansing sins and removing illusion. The front left hand is across the chest in the gahahasta (elephant trunk) pose, with the wrist limp and the fingers pointed downward toward the uplifted foot.
Shiva's raised left foot, grants eternal bliss to those who approach him. The other foot treads firmly upon the dwarf of ignorance, allowing the birth of knowledge. Nataraja dances above the body of the demon, Apasmara, whom he has killed; in this role he is called Natesa. Apasmara, the dwarf demon, represents the ignorance of teaching that all opposites (for example good and evil) are false.
"The use of a wood polish will keep the wood looking fresh and the colors vibrant."
Wood statues are easy to take care of as they just need some annual upkeep to keep them looking as they did when they were first carved. All the wood used by Lotus Sculpure's artists is dried out for months. Moisture causes cracks in the sculpture as the wood contracts and expands in different temperatures. Our wood has little to no moisture in it assuring that the sculpture is not going to crack in its journey into different climates. Here are some simple tips to keep your statue in good condition:
- Dust the statue as needed to prevent dirt build up
- To make the statue shine use a natural wood cleaner and a cotton cloth to buff the sculpture
We prefer Old English to polish and buff our statues. The use of a wood polish like Old English will keep the wood looking fresh and keep the colors looking vibrant. For natural wood and painted wooden statues we recommend Old English for lighter woods. For darker wood statues we recommend Old English for darker woods. Lotus Sculpture cleans and polishes each wooden statue prior to shipping them to the customer.
We recommend keeping wooden statues in an indoor environment. Wood statues can go outside however, they will wear more quickly and develop an antique appearance. If you would like to put a wood statue from Lotus Sculpture outside and keep the same appearance of the sculpture we would recommend first coating the statue with a couple of layers of sealant or polyurethane. We would then recommend placing the statue in a partially covered area. The more exposure to the elements the more the statue will wear over time. Please feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions regarding your wooden statue from Lotus Sculpture, (760) 994-4455 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This sculpture is in our Oceanside, California store and ready for immediate packing. Shipping is calculated from Oceanside, California after the purchase. This piece is too heavy to ship via UPS ground and will be shipped using R&L Freight Carriers. Approximately 3 working days are needed to pack the sculpture in its own custom wood crate. If you place your order online shipping will show in the order as $0. Shipping will be calculated based on the weight of the sculpture and the distance from Oceanside, CA to determine the shipping price. Shipping will then be added to the total after the order is placed. Please call 760-994-4455 or email us email@example.com for a shipping quote.
This sculpture is in our Oceanside, California store and ready for immediate packing. Shipping is calculated from Oceanside, California after the purchase. This piece is too heavy to ship via UPS ground and will be shipped using an international freight service. Typically we use TNT Special Services as they give the most competitive rates. Approximately 3 working days are needed to pack the sculpture in its own custom wood crate. If you place your order online shipping will show in the order as $0. Shipping will be calculated based on the weight of the sculpture and the distance from Oceanside, CA to determine the shipping price. The shipping quote will be emailed to you and no charge will be made without your approval. Shipping will then be added to the total after the order is placed. Please call 760-994-4455 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org for a shipping quote.