Among these three representations of Shiva in The Art Institute of Chicago, Natraja is the most significant. One’s attention is drawn not only to its form but also to the symbolism it contains. This piece of sculpture is from the Chola Dynasty that ruled southern India from 800 to 1279 C.E. It is a brilliant icon and probably one of the best representations of Hindu art.
In Buddhism, Nature is not merely a supply source for our material needs. The Earth is seen as a living entity, and therefore Nature has a dynamic role in our lives. This respect for nature is inherent in Buddhism not only because it is the basis for much of its teachings, but because Buddhism itself is a product of Nature.
Art Education? Why? This question is an important one for a society in which there is much to be done toward the appreciation and teaching of art. Is it really a waste of time for our students? Is it a subject that just tears them away for forty-five to fifty minutes from their core subjects? Or is it a subject that provides our students with some specific skills?