A blue-skinned Shiva dances on the back of Apasmara. Apasmara, the pitiable, the epileptic, is a personification of avidya, which is best translated as ignorance. He lies overpowered at the feet of the cosmic annihilator, helplessly wielding a bloodied mace and flailing His limbs. The tandava (dance routine) of Lord Shiva spares neither dharma nor adharma. The stance of His body in this painting - chaturbhujadhari (possessed of four arms), a leg raised in the air, the mudra of the hands - is characteristic of His Nataraja roopa.
Clothed in little more than a tigerskin loincloth, the musculature of the great yogi is revealed in remarkable detail. His thick mane of waist-length hair flares about Him, akin to the flames rising from the shallow vessel in His left posterior hand. A quantum of raging flame is indispensable to the iconography of the destructive deity; while it symbolises all-consuming annihilation, the damroo tied to the neck of the trishoola in His posterior right hand, which He raises above His head, stands for srshti-naada.
A number of details adds to the general and spiritual aesthetics of the composition. The vahana of Shiva, Nandi, the bull, wedges its horns into the limbs of the defeated Apasmara. The hump of its milk-white back is decorated like the sacred Shivalingam. From the ash-coloured mounds of the landscape rise a variety of high shrubbery executed in a diverse palette of colours. The pale ivory skies of the background bring out the vibrant colours of the foreground as well as the motif-lades edges.
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend