fiberglass Nataraja statue of dancing Shiva as Lord Nataraja depicts the Hindu God of destruction destroying the world. By destroying the world Shiva is paving the way for new life and renewal. Out of the ashes new life is created. Nataraja dances on the body of the dwarf demon, Apasmara, whom he has killed; in this role he is called Natesa. Apasmara, the dwarf demon, represents the ignorance. Shiva is symbolically destroying ignorance in the world. Fiber statues are extremely strong and durable while also being light weight and movable. They can be washed for easy cleaning. Liquids used for abhishekam during puja will not dull or harm the colors. Nataraja statue,”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.