- Ananda's Tandava: "The Dance of Shiva" Reconsidered
- Volume | Issue number
- 62 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
Almost one hundred years ago Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (1877-1947) published "The Dance of Shiva". The essay summarizes the essential significance of Shiva as Nataraja, "Lord of Dance", and till today has proven the most persistent point of reference that turned this south Indian bronze into a national symbol, both at home and abroad. The present essay investigates the blend of intercultural exchanges that lured Western as well as Indian perceptions into an uncritical acceptance of Ananda Coomaraswamy's interpretation. Shiva's Ananda Tandava or "Dance of Bliss", will be its central theme, set in two seemingly irreconcilable contexts. The first cultural context shows Ananda Coomaraswamy in his own, intricate conceptual tandava-dance between East and West. Next, this global perspective shifts to the local practices of South Indian Hinduism where Shiva continues to dance his Ananda Tandava as part of an annual temple festival. In conclusion, the term Ananda will be dealt with in the context of its ritual application and contemporary relevance.
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