Shiva is here both Nataraja and Gangadhara.
As Nataraja, he is dancing over the dwarf demon Apasmarapurusha whom he has just defeated for the final victory against ignorance. The left leg is elegantly raised. Shiva has four arms, two of them for an organic function while the other two are entrusted to hold the cosmic symbols.
Shiva's eyes are closed and will not reopen until the end of the world but the third eye of inner wisdom begins to incise the forehead.
As Gangadhara, he is the source and the master of the sacred river whose waters fall from his head as a beautifully waving hair. Life does not exist without the benefits from the Ganges, and Shiva protects life against the flooding of the river.
Experts consider that this work was realized in southern India at the time of the dynasty of the Eastern Chalukyas. The alloy has archaic features and some elements including the opulence of the hair and the headband predate the classic iconography of the period of the later Cholas. This piece was made more than 1000 years ago, maybe even up to 1200 years ago.