For a long time I have had a vast interest in a small sculpture located in my parentís entryway. This sculpture is a figure with four arms, stands on one leg atop what appears to be a baby, and wears a funny looking headdress of some sort. For years Iíve wondered why this little man had four arms, stood in such an uncomfortable-looking fashion, and what meaning he has. Finally, my wonder has turned to insight, as a course I took in college, Art History, has suddenly shown me the light.
The first real picture that I saw of this funny little guy, Nataraja, was in our textbook where I learned he is a god adopted by the ancient Indian imperial Cholas. We were then assigned a visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts where I had my first look at an original sculpture of the dancing god. The piece is named Shiva Nataraja (Lord of the Dance). It is an archetypal sculpture made in the late tenth century by an unknown artist and was found in a temple near Pondiche...