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Shiva's Dance in Stone:
Ananda Tandava, Bhujangalalita, Bhujangatrasa

Fig. 12: Shiva Nataraja, consort Sivakamasundari and Patanjali in the Narumbunathar temple in Thirupudaimarudur
Stone, probably granite
Thiruvidaimarudur, Tamil Nadu, India
Date unknown
160 centimeter without the pedestal, 210 centimeter including (approximately)

February 2012 by Liesbeth Pankaja Bennink, Kandhan Raja Deekshithar, Jayakumar Raja Deekshithar, Shankar Raja Deekshithar.

The Nataraja is housed in a spacious and open sanctum in the North-East corner of the prakara and faces South. His consort Shivakamasundari and the saint Patanjali and Vyaghrapada are present in the same space. The murti is fully covered with sandal paste from the abhishekam, making distinguishing details difficult.

Together with the rectangular pedestal it may be over 2 meter in height. The Nataraja proper is probably at least 1.60 high. The pedestal is build up of traditional moldings such as an upana, upapitha, padmabandha and kapota.

The prabha is round and heavy and is composed of a broad and round body with several layers of rims. Two makaras with large mouths and tails are clear elements above a kind of base. Two makaras occupy the top of the prabha, with a medallion in between. This is topped with a huge flame or shikhara. It is not possible to distinguish all the details of the makaras or this peak-decoration.

The Apasmara lies with its head towards the right and wears a kind of diadem and flame or fan-shaped crown. It holds a large naga in its hand which raises its head up to Shiva's left foot.

The jata fall down around the head and ears and on the shoulders. Shiva wears a kind of diadem and a kind of crown. Details cannot be distinguished. From the head two struts connect it to what seems to be streamers from the mouth of the makaras which form some kind of decoration under the prabha.

The space around the body is completely worked open and the body is free from the stone background. Also around the legs the background stone has been removed to leave open space. The sculptor has even carved away the stone between the earrings and the shoulders. A strut seems to have been left in place to support the lower hands.

The upper right hand holds the damaru and the upper left a small vessel from which the flame blazes forth.