Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bharatanatyam Hasta Mudra (Hand Gestures)


One of the most striking aspects of an Indian Classical Dance is the use of hand gestures, also known as Hasta Mudra (read: Huss-tha mu-dh-raa). In order to convey the meaning of what a dancer is performing, hand gestures are a significant __ to facial expressions. However, there are also Nritta Mudras, that are employed for the sake of beauty and decorative purposes while performing Nritta. So vast is the hand gestures that it covers almost all the aspects of human life and the entire universe. There is a hand gesture for every single thing in this universe. Some are performed with a single hand while some may require the use of both hands. Hence 'Mudras' bring unique poetic element while performing Abhinaya (expressions) and thus the language of the mudras enables the dancer to express practically anything and everything.

Mudras are basically of two types -
  1. Asamyukta Hasta (or Asamyuta) (Single Hand Gestures)
  2. Samyukta Hasta (or Samyuta) (Double Hand Gestures)

Asamyukta Hasta (read: Uh-sum-yook-tha Husstha) - It is done using a single hand. The Natyashastra mentions 28 Mudras. There are four new Mudras added to this list. These Hand Gestures are a Part of Angika Abhinaya. I shall be explaining each of these Mudras with reference to the shlokas of Abhinayadarpana. (Post will be up soon)

Samyukta Hasta (read: Sum-yook-tha Husstha) - Also known as double hand gestures or combined hand gestures. These gestures require use of both the palms to convey the message or a particular meaning. Usually, these gestures are performed using one or a combination of various single hand gestures. Each gesture has its own use which is termed as Viniyoga (read: we-nee-yoga)
source: a few double hand gestures

A detailed post with the illustration & meanings of every hand gesture will be up shortly.


Kavitha | Food-O-Mania! said...

Check comment.

Anonymous said...

I liked it very much, keep up the good job ;)

Pan Ei Win Cho said...

Thanks for the post. I started learning Bharatanatyam a while ago and was wondering about the meaning of hand posture. It would be great to be able to read them in English so that will enhance my interest and understanding of this classic dance.

Pan Ei Win Cho said...

Thanks for the explanations and pictures. I started learning Bharatanatyam yesterday and was wondering what all those hand gestures mean. I will look forward to the next post.

Kavitha @ Natyakriya said...

My pleasure! :) Love to know that you have started learning this beautiful dance form! You will love it!


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