A priest’s necklace depicting Shiva Nataraja, Kartikaya and attendants
(Linga padakka muthu malai, or Gowrishankaram)
22 Karat Gold, silver, diamonds, rubies, pearls, rudraksha seeds and pink foil
India, Tamil Nadu
Early 19th c.
Length: 19 inches (47 cm.)
As a symbol, Shiva Nataraja is a brilliant invention. It combines in a single image Shiva’s roles as creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe and conveys the Indian conception of the never-ending cycle of time. Although it appeared in sculpture as early as the fifth century, its present, world-famous form evolved under the rule of the Cholas. Shiva’s dance is set within a flaming halo. The god holds in his upper right hand the damaru (hand drum that made the first sounds of creation). His upper left hand holds agni (the fire that will destroy the universe). With his lower right hand, he makes abhayamudra (the gesture that allays fear). The dwarflike figure being trampled by his right foot represents apasmara purusha (illusion, which leads mankind astray). Shiva’s front left hand, pointing to his raised left foot, signifies refuge for the troubled soul. The energy of his dance makes his hair fly to the sides. The symbols imply that, through belief in Shiva, his devotees can achieve salvation. (see more )
Kartikeya, the second son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati or Shakti, is known by many names Subramaniam, Sanmukha, Shadanana, Skanda and Guha. In the southern states of India, Kartikeya is a popular deity and is better known as Murugan.
He is an embodiment of perfection, a brave leader of god’s forces, and a war god, who was created to destroy the demons, representing the negative tendencies in human beings.