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Śiva's Dance: Iconography and Dance Practice in South and Southeast Asia

Alessandra Iyer
Music in Art
Vol. 25, No. 1/2 (Spring-Fall 2000), pp. 25-32
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41818357
Page Count: 8
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Śiva's Dance: Iconography and Dance Practice in South and Southeast Asia
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Abstract

Images of the dancing Śiva are relevant for an understanding of dance iconography in both South and Southeast Asia and also for an understanding of the development of dance practices. Siva's dances are described, in relevant textual material, as being based on the karana and angahāra movements codified in the Nātyaśāstra, a Sanskrit text from India reputed to be not later than the sixth century C.E. We have evidence that the Nātyaśāstra tradition reached Southeast Asia, though we do not know about the dance forms and genres practised in Southeast Asia in ancient times and we cannot assume that they were identical to those practised in India. But we can at least say that the karana technique seems to have been shared knowledge. Such conclusions can be reached by thoroughly examining the relevant iconographie evidence.

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