Although the eyes are considered the fundamental organ of expression in Indian dance whenever some emotion or dramatic situation is to be conveyed, they are aided by codified hand gestures.

Together, they create a potent universal language.

The gestures are grouped into those made by manipulating a single hand and those that require both hands.

Here is the second in Nandikeswara’s list of single-hand gestures:


First hold the palm with all fingers straight and pressed together. Then bend the thumb from the first digit and the ring finger from the second digit.


Tripataka can be used to show an arrow or pointed implement, drawing decorative patterns on the face, rising flames, a pigeon, etc.

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