A larger-than-life bronze to grace the home or office of the truly devoted. Fashioned from panchaloha, a mix of five (‘pancha’) different alloys of iron (loha), it depicts the Nataraja roopa (form) of the great Lord Shiva. Caught amidst His powerful, all-annihilating tandava, the stance is one of enchanting grace and harmony. Needless to say, this Shiva iconography has been popular with artisans since the beginning of India’s sculptural tradition.
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Speaking of sculptural tradition, the South is where bronze really flourished as a medium. Panchaloha, of which this murti is made, is one of the finest homegrown bronzes and accounts for the deep, rich brown and the sublime shimmer of the Lord’s naked skin. Replete with remarkable detail - the flaying locks and snakes that frame the tandava figure, the gorgeous prabhavali or aureole - this work is a fine example of the merits of the lost-wax method of bronze sculpting.
Known as madhuchista vidhana in the Agamas, it is a demanding technique that involves the skilled artisan to work with his hands. It accounts for the finesse in each aspect of the figure, such as the digits of the hands and feet, the lifelike undulations of form, and the expressive mukhamandala.
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