CHOLA BRONZE STATUE
Parvati, The Hindu Goddess
The period of The Chola Dynasty (9th -13th century) is popularly known as the “Golden Age of Tamil Art”. Bronze sculptures of deities were made and worshipped, creating a relationship between humans and the divine.
The Chola Bronze statue of Parvati, the Hindu Goddess is worshipped as an individual deity as well as Shiva’s wife. Here, she is seen in a “Tribhanga” position where her head and lower body slant towards the left and her torso towards the right, forming a slight curve in her posture. Her hands, carefully placed to resemble holding a flower in one hand to a graceful dance step in the other and her legs, one bent and the other elongated, add to the poise with which she stands. She stands upon a pedestal resembling the lotus flower, slightly rigid in terms of the structure of its petals. The sculpture looks curvaceous with a slim waistline and accentuated hips and breasts in comparison.
The level of detail is breath taking. Whether it is her elongated eyes or her patterned dhoti, held up with an embellished belt, Parvati with her conical headdress looks absolutely graceful. Her expression is calm and peaceful, with a partial smile spread across her face, making her appear radiant. Her sculptures are often found around Shiva’s for obvious reasons however she tends to express a form of dance through her gesture and postures since she forms an integral part of the perception of Shiva as the Lord of the Dance.
RITUAL DANCE PERFORMANCE
The Ghost Dance
When the Sun died, I went up to Heaven and saw God and all the people who had died a long time ago. God told me to come back and tell my people they must be good and love one another, and not fight, or steal or lie. He gave me this dance to give to my people.
The Ghost Dance Religion started out as an attempt to revitalize the traditional culture and ethics of the Native Americans in the late nineteenth century.
The Paiute Indians with their shaman, “Wovoka” started this movement in 1870 but it only flourished in 1889 when Wovoka had a vision during the sun eclipse of the second coming of Christ and the evils of the “white men”. He also saw the restoration of power to the Native Americans and the destruction of the White man. One of the ceremonial aspects of this religion was “The Ghost Dance”. The ceremony lasted five days and occurred every six weeks where the participants danced every night and all night on its last day. The Ghost Dance served as a ray of hope for the Native Americans, overpowered by the US Government.
The dance believed in revisiting relatives who had left their bodies, it served as a means of healing to the natives.
Men and Women wore “ghost shirts”, relatively similar to each other, however different in terms of patterns and designs of the sun, moon and stars painted on it. It was not impenetrable by a bullet or weapon of any kind.
The dance itself, unlike other Native American dances didn’t have fast beats and loud drumming. Instead the natives held hands and moved in a circular direction, following the movement of the sun singing songs of the restoration of their glory. There were no instruments used for the purpose of this dance. It was said to reunite the natives, men and women with their ancestors through their movements, dance and song.