Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Nataraja, Siva Devale No. 5 (Colombo National Museum)

Nataraja, Colombo National Museum
A bronze representing Nataraja is presently on display in the Gallery of Polonnaruwa Period at Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. It was discovered in 1908 in the precinct of Siva Devale No. 5 in the Polonnaruwa Ancient City (Chutiwongs et al, 2013; Krishnarajah, 1983).

The bronze is 64.5 cm in height and depicts the divine dancer Nataraja, a form of the Hindu god Siva (Krishnarajah, 1983). According to scholars, this bronze has several special features that are not found in other Nataraja images found in the country (Krishnarajah, 1983). The dancer is represented with many cobras upon his body besides the one that forms the usual ornaments of Siva (Chutiwongs et al, 2013; Krishnarajah, 1983). Also, two crescents are present on the Jatamakuta (headdress) while the ears are ornamented with two types of earrings; a Makarakundala and a disc-shaped Ratnakundala (Chutiwongs et al, 2013; Krishnarajah, 1983). The upper body of the dancer is naked but the lower body is covered by a thin cloth. A miniature figure of the Ganga river is shown floating upon the hair strands to the right of the dancer (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). The usual ring of fire (Praba or Tiruvasi) that surrounds the dancer's body is not depicted in this bronze.

Scholars have dated this statue to the 12th-13th century A.D. (Chutiwongs et al, 2013)

References
1) Chutiwongs, N.; Prematilleke, L.; Silva, R., 2013. Sri Lanka Murthi: Siva (Sri Lanka Sculpture: Siva). Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural and the Arts. pp.64-65.
2) Krishnarajah, S., 1983. Saiva Bronzes in Sri Lanka. Dissertation submitted in the partial fulfilment of M.A. degree in Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, India. pp.29-31.

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This page was last updated on 23 November 2022

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