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

Fig. 13: Shiva Nataraja in the Naganathaswami temple in Peraiyur
Stone, probably granite
Peraiyur, TamilNadu, India
Date unknown
160 centimeter without the pedestal, 200 including the pedestal (approximately)

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

The sanctum of this Nataraja is in an unusual location. It is a large open space constructed against the wall of the main shrine on the North-East corner and faces south. Only Sivakamasundari is also present. Both murtis are paced on a raised platform. This murti is covered with the oil of the abhishekam.

Together with the pedestal the murti is some 2 meter high. Without the pedestal the Nataraja is approximately 1.60 to 1.70 in height.

The pedestal is rectangular with traditional moldings. Four small figures are depicted sitting in front of it. These seem to be an animal faced figure, possibly Nandishvara, and three rishis.

The prabha is round but consists of only the round main body, two thin rims, and the rim of flames. The flames are placed some distance apart and are clearly sculpted. But the stone between the individual flames has not been removed. The round prabha is positioned on a high and somewhat slender plinth consisting of two pillars with moldings and probably two small makara. Details are not visible due to the cloth which covers the murti.

The Apasmara is relatively small and lies with its face towards the right. A large cobra raises its head from the Apasmara to the left foot of the Shiva.

Seven jata spread sideways on each side of the head with upturned curls at the end. Ganga and Moon are present on respectively the right and left side, but not clearly visible on the photos. The head-dress is more like a single feather then a fan-shape, the skull is probably present, but details cannot be established. The head-dress is connected to the prabha but does not cover it.

The damaru is held by a naga which in turn is held by Shiva's upper right hand. The flame on the left is held by a vessel.

A naga is wrapped around the left ankle and raises its head up to the left hand, functioning as a support for the gaja-hasta or dola-hasta.