VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Shiva Nataraja, the Dancing Shiva
RVI 501
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

In the opinion of the donor, Eduard von der Heydt (1882-1964), this Nataraja is one of the finest examples in the world. This admiration has not diminished over the years. Due to its beauty, this figure has become an emblem of the Museum Rietberg.

History of the Object
The Hindu god Shiva manifests himself in the world in various ways, including as the king of the dance. Shiva's dance, however, is not an artistic form of entertainment, but an act of cosmic creation and destruction: he creates the universe from within himself, and then dissolves it again. South Indian master founders cast this figure as a mobile ritual object during what is known as the Chola period: bronzes of this kind were carried around the temples and worshipped at certain festivals dedicated to the God Shiva.

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
Bronze 
Measurements
Width 77 cm. Height 82 cm.  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Tamil Nadu, Tanjavur 
Geography
India 
Time period
AD 12th century ~ AD 12th century 
Creation date
12th Century; Chola Dynasty 
Function
Processional figure 
Acquisition
Gabriel Jouveau-Dubreuil, Pondichéry (early 20th century); C.T. Loo, Paris; Eduard von der Heydt Collection (from 1929). 
Copyright
Museum Rietberg Zürich 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Museum Rietberg Zürich 
Museum
Museum Rietberg 
Credit line
Museum Rietberg Zürich, Gift Eduard von der Heydt 

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