If I were to choose one Vigraha as the representation of Indian Bronze artistry, it will be Nataraja. Deep in symbolism, full of grace and elegance, Nataraja Vigrahas invoke awe and devotion. The form challenges even the best of the Stapathis.
A quick summary of the iconography:
Standing on Apasmara (Demon of Ignorance), Nataraja assures Abhaya (protection) to those who surrender to him. Indicated by the Abhaya (protection) mudra of his lower right hand and with the lower left hand pointing to his raised left feet. Nataraja is the creator, the protector and the destroyer. Creation and destruction of the Universe is to the rhythm of the drum on his upper right-hand. The fire on his upper left-hand denotes destruction. The stage for his dance is the Universe and it is symbolized by the Prabhavali.
Note Ganga on his matted, swirling hair. Just above his head on his right. As is usual with South Indian bronzes, the back is worked on, though while the Vigraha is in worship the devotee may never see the back. Note the Jata and the detailing of the ornaments.
A delightful vigraha, about 8.5 cm in height, packed with details without losing the elegance. Admittedly a late Vigraha and it is not earlier than the eighteenth century.
it is rare to get good Nataraja Vigraha with age. Never miss one.
Nataraja image is the best gift Tamil Nadu has given to the art world.