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Nataraja Of Shiva Essay

1899 words - 8 pages

When I went to Museum of Metropolitan of Art, I saw many interesting works of arts. I was so amazed by all of the art-work. It was a tough decision to choose one work to focus on for my art paper, but there was one sculpture that caught my eye; it was Nataraja of Shiva (11th century) from Ancient Southeastern Art located on the 2nd floor of the museum. The main message of this sculpture is focused on the idea of the boundaries of cosmos and the destruction and rebirth of the world. This paper will employ close visual analysis of this sculpture and describe how the visual elements of the work relate to its main theme. In my opinion, this sculpture is very beautiful and I was so surprised to find it in the museum. As I was growing up in India, I always saw this sculpture in the temples, stores and other peoples home and even in my own home. When I was a young girl, I always use to look at it and wondered “why does Shiva have four arms? Why is he standing the way he is standing?”
Nataraja is a Sanskrit word, which is an oldest language of India. “Nata” means dance and “Raja” means King; king of dance. This sculpture is from Chola Dynasty, circa 11 century. The artist of this work is unknown. The height of the sculpture is 28 7/8in and its diameter is 22 1/4in. I expected the sculpture to be a smaller than it was because I haven’t seen the sculpture as big as this one before. So, it was shocking to find it at that big height.
At that time (Chola Dynasty, circa 860-1279) art and religion were very closely interrelated in India and all art sculptures or objects have some spiritual ideas and religious message in them. In this case, the main message is boundaries of the cosmos; demolition and reincarnation of the world. Shiva is a major Hindu deity. He is seen as a supreme god. Nataraja of Shiva is one of the most well-known sculptures in Indian art and is a famous Hindu icon. Chola Dynasty, which is also known as one of the greatest periods in Asia for sculpture. This time period was also well-known for bronze sculptures but this particular sculpture in Met was copper alloy probably because from my knowledge, at that time, copper was better for carving and sculpting but now a days, there are paintings of the Nataraja that are colorful, too (with a lot of colors, and much easier to see and understand). Also, being that it was copper to me it looked a little dull because I have seen the sculpture in the different colors, shapes and sizes. There are many other brass figures depicting Shiva as Lord of the Dance in different postures of the dance. When these sculptures were made only fortunate classes such as royals and priest could view the deities and people who were poor wasn’t able to. But now, everyone can see it, and have it. The pose, Shiva with his four arms is called “tribhanga in Bharantanayam” (another classical dance of South India).
From my observation at the Met, this sculpture is inside a medium glass and space. Also, it is by itself...

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