Nataraja is a depiction of the Hindu god Shiva as the divine cosmic dancer. His dance is called Tandava.The pose and artwork are described in many Hindu texts such as the Tevaram, Thiruvasagam in Tamil.
He is commonly referred as Koothan( கூத்தன்), Sabesan( சபேசன்) and Ambalavanan (அம்பலவாணன்) in various Tamil texts.
The sculpture is symbolic of Shiva as the lord of dance and dramatic arts, with its style and proportions made according to Hindu texts on arts. Tamil Devotional texts such as Tirumurai (The twelve books of Southern Shaivism) speaks that Nataraja is the form of Shiva in which he does Creation, destruction, Preserving, Maya and Blessing.Thus Nataraja is considered one of the highest forms of Shiva.