One of the most striking features of Hindu dance is the use of hand gestures.
Actually speaking in order to convey meaning and expressions, hand gestures make a prominent existence. However hand gestures known as nritta hastas are employed for the sake of beauty and decorative purposes while performing nritta.
This is a list of mudras.
The Abhinaya Darpan mentions that the dancer should sing the song by the throat, express the meaning of the song through hand gestures, show the state of feelings by eyes and keep track of the time with feet.
From the Natya Shastra, a text on the arts, this beautiful quotation and translation was often quoted by Indian classical dance instructors:
"Yato hasta stato drishti"..."Where the hand is, the eyes follow"
"Yato drishti stato manaha"..."Where the eyes go, the mind follows"
"Yato manaha stato bhava"..."Where the mind is, there is the feeling"
"Yato bhava stato rasa"..."Where there is feeling, there is mood/flavour (i.e., appreciation of art, aesthetic bliss)"
So vast is the hand gestures that it covers almost all the aspects of human life and the entire universe.
Hence 'Mudras' form a distinct code language and bring unique poetic element while performing abhinaya and thus the language of the mudras enables the dancer to express practically anything and everything.
In Bharata Natyam there are about 32 single hand root mudras called as Asamyukta Hasta and 23 double hand mudras called as Samyukta Hasta.
Asamyukta hastas (single hand gestures)
Samayukta hastas (double hand gestures)
|Name in Sanskrit||Translation(s) in English||Other Meanings||Illustration|
|Pushpaputam||bag of flowers|
|Shivalingam||Lingum of Lord Shiva|
|Samputa||round shaped casket|
|Garuda||Half-eagle, half-human mount of Lord Vishnu|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to mudras.|
- Indianartz.com. Hasta Mudras - Gallery.
- Ramm-Bonwitt, Ingrid (1987). Mudras - As Maos Como Simbolo do Cosmos.
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