Shiva as Lord of Dance and Music
11th century
India: Odisha
On View

Carved in deep relief, the figure of Shiva is depicted dancing on a pyramid of five heads with sunken eyes placed upon a lotus base. Five heads or skulls play an important role in esoteric tantric practices. While representations of Shiva as the cosmic dancer are common, this extraordinary sculpture is unique for both its iconography and style.


  • Title: Shiva as Lord of Dance and Music
  • Date: 11th century
  • Medium: Sandstone
  • Dimensions: 45 x 17 x 10 in. (114.3 x 43.2 x 25.4 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1975.17.49.S
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

A Tale of Three Muses: Music, Poetry and Art in India and Nepal

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1994-03-17 to 1994-09-04
  • Pal, Pratapaditya, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, Volume 1: Art from the Indian Subcontinent,no. 157 pp. 202-203
  • Donaldson, Thomas, Iconography and Body Language in Hara-Parvati and Allied Images (2 vols),fig. 188
  • Donaldson, Thomas, Iconography and Body Language in Hara-Parvati and Allied Images (2 vols), p.243
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 1239 p. 385
  • Donaldson, Thomas E., Hindu Temple Art of Orissa, p. 1345
  • The Art of India and Pakistan, p. 60
  • Dancing to the Flute: Music and Dance in Indian Art, pp. 41, 50-51

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