Figure of Shiva Nataraja

Unknown artist12th - 14th century AD

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto, Canada

The powerful image of the Hindu god Shiva depicts him as the Lord of Dance, or Nataraja. With one leg raised and surrounded by a circle of fire, Shiva is represented in the process of performing his cosmic dance of bliss. As the Lord (Raja) of the Dance (Nata), Shiva brings both destruction and creation. Shiva Nataraja’s dance is understood as a metaphor for the Hindu spiritual journey, the goal of which is release from the cycle of rebirth. Such bronze sculptures were predominantly produced from the Chola period onwards, a dynasty of kings that ruled over much of southern India from the ninth to the twelfth centuries CE. They were housed in temples and regularly brought out and decorated for processions.


  • Title: Figure of Shiva Nataraja
  • Creator: Unknown artist
  • Date: 12th - 14th century AD
  • Location: Tamil Nadu, India
  • Physical Dimensions: w87.6 x h101.6 x d27 cm
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Medium: Lost-wax casting in bronze
  • Accession Number: 938.44

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