World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

List of mudras (dance)

Article Id: WHEBN0029164958
Reproduction Date:

Title: List of mudras (dance)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Mudras, Dance in India, Karma Naach, Vilasini Natyam, Nataraja
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

List of mudras (dance)

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 expression"

"Yato bhava stato rasa"..."Where there is expression, there is mood/flavour(i.e., appreciation of art)"

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.

Hindu Dance

Bharata Natyam

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)

Name in Sanskrit Translation(s) in English Other Meanings Illustration
Pataka Flag
Tripataka Three Parts of the Flag


Half flag
Kartarimukha Arrow shaft Scissors
Mayura Peacock
Ardhachandra Half moon
Arala Peak of the Mountain
Shukatunda Beak of a parrot
Mushthi Closed fist
Shikhara Heroism
Kapitta Posing to Goddess of Wealth Wood apple tree
Katakamukha Crab
Suchi Needle
Chandrakala Waxing moon
Padmakosha Lotus bud
Sarpashirsha Hood of a snake
Mrigashirsha Head of a deer
Simhamukha Face of a lion
Langula or Kangula Water Lily
Alapadma Flowering lotus
Chatura Clever and Witty
Bhramara Bee
Hamsasya Head of a swan
Hamsapaksha Wing of a swan
Sandamsha Tongs
Mukula Flower bud
Tamrachuda Cock
Trishula Trident
Ardhasuchi Half needle
Vyagraha Tiger
Palli Knot
Kataka Resting Place

Samayukta hastas (double hand gestures)

Name in Sanskrit Translation(s) in English Other Meanings Illustration
Anjali Offering
Karkatam Crab
Swastikam Auspicious sign
Shivalingam Phallus of Lord Shiva
Shankha Conch-shell
Chakram Rotating disc
Pasha Ropes
Matsya Fish
Kurma Tortoise
Varaha Boar
Garuda Half-eagle, half-human mount of Lord Vishnu

See also


  1. ^ Wall Street Journal (28-07-2010). "Q&A: Delhi Airport’s ‘Hands’ Sculpture".
  2. ^ Indian Express (26-06-2010). " Friendly Gestures".
  • Hasta Mudras - Gallery.
  • Ramm-Bonwitt, Ingrid (1987). Mudras - As Maos Como Simbolo do Cosmos.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.