Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja)

Place Made:
India: Tamil Nadu
11th century
32-3/4 x 24 x 11-1/2 in. (83.2 x 61.0 x 29.2 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
On View

Shiva as the Lord of Dance (Nataraja) is the quintessential deity of the Tamil country of south India. Extant examples in stone and bronze suggest that the Nataraja icon developed in the early 10th century, during the Chola dynasty. However, devotional hymns mention the dancing form of Shiva as early as the sixth century. Appar, a seventh-century Shaiva saint, describes the beauty of Shiva’s dance of bliss:

If you could see
the arch of his brow,
the budding smile
on lips as red as the kovvai fruit,
cool matted hair,
the milk-white ash on coral skin,
and the sweet golden foot
raised up in dance,
then even human birth on this wide earth
would become a thing worth having.

Image reproduction permission may be granted for scholarly or arts related commercial use. All image requests, regardless of their intended purpose, should be submitted via email. Requests can also be made by fax or mail.

Images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. Additional permission may be required.

Approved requests for the reproduction of an image will receive a contract detailing all fees and conditions of use of the image. Upon receipt of both the signed contract and full payment, the Office of Rights and Reproductions will provide the image. A complimentary copy of the published material must be provided to the Norton Simon Museum.

Please fill out our Online Reproduction Request Form.

E-mail: [email protected]
Telephone: (626) 449-6840 x 3300
Fax: (626) 796-4978