Nataraja means Lord of the Dance. The Hindu god Shiva is often depicted dancing in statues, normally made from bronze.
The statues show Shiva dancing in a circle of flame, often balancing on the dwarf demon Apasmara. This symbolises Shiva's triumph over ignorance.
The statues are significant as they show Shiva performing the divine dance used to destroy the universe, in preparation for its recreation by the god Brahma.