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Lord Shiva Performing Ananda-Tandava

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Lord Shiva Performing Ananda-Tandava
$1960.00FREE Delivery
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Time required to recreate this artwork
20 to 24 weeks
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$392.00 (20%)
Balance to be paid once product is ready
Item Code: XL63
South Indian Temple Wood Carving
65.5 inch X 17.5 inch X 4
19.28 kg
This wooden plaque, one of the finest examples of South Indian wood-carving, the same level of finish as carved out of a fine-grained marble piece, adherence to mythical tradition, set of imagery as evolved through ages, accuracy of details, modeling, plasticity, iconographic perfection, all combined to reveal a deep cosmic mystique, represents Lord Shiva engaged in Ananda-Tandava, usually called ‘Tandava’, the dance of dissolution. The ever first dancer who led the limbs to disciplined moves, timed, paced, designed to reveal a mood or mode, and instrumenting an objective, mainly, delighting, annihilating or dissolving, Shiva was the first master to reveal dance in his figure and to teach it. The dance he delighted in performing and performed to delight is classified as ‘lasya’, his instrument of creation, and the dance he performed to destroy – to annihilate and dissolve, is classed as Tandava, though while the dance he performed to dissolve, Shiva’s ultimate cosmic role in the Great Trinity, is known as Ananda-Tandava, the dance he performed for annihilating an evil as Tripura – three cities of demons is not identified by such specific term. This form of his image reveals Ananda-Tandava and is widely known as Nataraja, the king of performers, dance being the foremost.

Nataraja icons have been subject to a few anatomical variations at least in regard to the number of arms, usually being four but sometimes, also six, as in this image, and eight, as seen in many images. Such variations sometimes surface also in the style of up-raised leg. In Ananda-Tandava icons the leg, usually right but sometimes also left, is raised to mid-height. However, in Lord Vishnu’s Tri-Vikrama form it is almost diagonally raised. This statue seems to assimilate this aspect of Tri-Vikrama anatomy into this form of Nataraja. Obviously, the artist’s skill faces greater challenge when it is to carve an ecstatically gesticulated figure as in dance having a larger number of arms. This figure of Nataraja carved with six arms, as against usual four, and imbued with great ecstasy and exaltation, and with absolute adherence to mythical as well as artistic traditions as evolved over long past, and that too in an uncompromising medium like wood, could have been a real artistic challenge that the artist of this image has wondrously accomplished. His skill reveals equally in carving delicate details of features such as the waves-like flames of fire emitting from his head, ensemble and ornaments.

This wood-carving represents Nataraja Shiva as engaged in Ananda-tandava. The energy that the body-moves generate has been represented as revealing waves-like in the form of flames of fire from his face. The figure of Nataraja has been installed within a Prabhavali – fire-arch, consisting of stylized lotus mouldings on the bottom, columned middle and the upper section consisting of nature : trees, plants, creepers, flowers, fruits and leaves, and quite importantly, the birds and animals, symbolising in its entirety the universe that Lord Shiva pervades. The six-armed figure of Lord Shiva with a tall ‘jata-juta’ partly covered with a crown adorned with beads, laces, crescent and snake, revealing dance in his form has been installed in the centre of the Prabhavali. Of the six hands the normal right and left are held in the posture of ‘abhaya’ and dissolution; the uppermost on the right side is carrying ‘damaru’ – double drum, and that on the left, the flames of fire : both the essential attributes of Nataraja iconography; and those in the middle, the right, a goad, and the left, a fruit. The figure’s left leg has been firmly placed on the back of Apasamarapurusha, while the right, lifted to almost hundred eighty degree angle. Lord Shiva’s figure has been conceived with a round face, sharp features, large shut eyes revealing absorption, and ‘tri-netra’ on the forehead. The figure has been gorgeously ornamented.

Usually considered demonic, Apasamarapurusha lies under his foot as providing the figure with a proper base. It has on its forehead a ‘tri-punda’ mark and has a quiet submissive posture in readiness to serve. Besides Apasamarapurusha, the artist has introduced on the plaque’s bottom a pair of female figures holding lotuses, the subordinate images in the statue. They symbolise creation, the post dissolution process and the essence of Ananda-Tandava which he performs to delight in dissolution – the forerunner of creation. Usually in Ananda-Tandava imagery Apasamarapurusha – the demon of inertia over which Nataraja performs his dance, carries the flower in one of its hands suggesting that after the dissolution has taken place inertia would rouse and the process of creation would begin. In this statue this role has been attributed to the two female forms. The image of Apasamarapurusha has been conceived holding suckle in one of its hands. Suckle, the instrument of harvesting and reaping, represents fertility and thus also the essence of creation. The image thus incorporates two sets of images emphasizing the pith of Ananda-Tandava which is creation.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.

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