5] WOOD PANEL FROM A RITUAL CHARIOT DEPICTING SHIVA NATARAJA
INDIA, TAMIL NADU
H. 34 CMS, 13 ½ INS
A dynamic carved wood panel depicting an eight-armed Shiva Nataraja, Lord of the Dance, atop a supine dwarf demon (Apasmara or Muyalaka) who symbolizes ignorance, wielding his various attributes including a trident (trisula), the river goddess Ganga at the top right and an attendant sage at bottom left.
This panel probably comes from a temple chariot used to convey sacred Hindu images during a procession. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has two closely related panels- see pp. 172 – 173, figs. 61 and 62 in Joseph M. Dye III; The Arts of India: The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, 2001.
Provenance: Private Spanish collection. Acquired in the 1970s.