This is a brass statue of Lord Shiva, who is one of the supreme beings and the destroyer in the Trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It is opined that the universe sleeps after destruction till the next cycle of creation in Lord Shiva. It is an irony that the one who is said to be responsible for destruction is also the holder of creation and existence.
He is known by various names like, Mahadev (The great God), Nataraj (dancing form of Shiva), Rudra (enraged form of Shiva), Dakshinamoorthy (yoga form of Shiva). He is mostly worshipped in Lingam figure, only Nataraj is worshipped in human figure. Shiva is generally in yoga or meditation pose immersed in complete enjoyment of bliss of his own self.
In this sculpture, Lord Shiva is sitting in a meditation pose on a tiger and wearing its skin as an apparel. Tiger is a ferocious animal that mercilessly kills its prey for desire. Similarly Shiva killed the tiger and used it for himself to show his mastery over his desires. The right hand is in meditation mudra (posture) and left hand is holding a small drum (damru) which is used while Shiva performs Tandav (form of dance). Shiva’s drum is symbolic of sound and energy, its shape represents universe which is always expanding and collapsing, just as the drum, from expansion it collapses and again expands. A venomous serpent is wrapped around his neck epitomizing death. He wears this death as a decoration showing, that he is the only one who can swallow poison to save the world. He is also wearing necklaces and round kundals which are increasing his beauty.
Lord Shiva has matted hair in a shell like fashion at the top of his head from where the sacred river Ganga flows. River Ganga is a purifying agent and Shiva who adorns it is the personification of purity. There is a crescent moon in his hair, towards the left side of his head indicating time. Change of days or months depends on the waning of moon. Shiva, by wearing this shows that this powerful time is only a supplement for him. The parallel textures of the tiger’s legs, Shiva’s apparel and his hair are complementing each other, representing that fierceness of his nature yet making it look alluring to the eyes. He has three eyes representing sun, moon and fire. The third eye is on his forehead in the centre illustrating knowledge, alertness and wisdom. There is a Trident (trishul) standing on the right side of Shiva. It is used for defence and Shiva by holding it shows that he is the supreme ruler and philosophically it stands for three processes of creation, preservation and dissolution. This statue of Shiva is also wearing sacred threads on his hands as bracelet.