Shiva Nataraja


I always visit this statue every time I am at the Rijksmuseum. No other work I seek to see that often and I can not explain why. I am attracted to everything in it – harmony, the balance of the body shown in the dance and the aura difficult to explain. I imagine it being carried in a procession of two long sticks, guided through the holes in the base, swaying with the steps of the porters in a clumsy dance that completed his perfect posture. Nataraja or the King of Dance is one of the forms of the god Shiva, the deity responsible for creating and destroying the world. He dances in a fiery halo, standing on a small figure symbolizing unawareness, ignorance – everything that conveys the truth about the essence of reality. But the face of Shiva emanates with calmness.

Shiva Nataraja, ca. 1100-1200, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

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