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Dance - Literature

* 11 Nov 2022
24 hand gestures or the Hastas has been codified in the Hasta Lakshana Deepika
Mudras or Hastas plays the most important role in Angika Abhinaya. It has the place of alphabets in a language. Hastas convey the meaning of a song, helps in expressing an emotion better through gestures according to the situation and hence making it a visual treat for the Rasikas or the audience.

Each of the fingers has a name.
1. Little finger - Kanishta
2. Ring Finger - Anamika
3. Middle Finger - Madhyama
4. Index Finger - Tharjani
5. Thumb - Angushtam

These fingers are used to portray the 24 hand gestures or the Hastas which has been codified in the Hasta Lakshana Deepika which literally means the Lamp showing the Purpose of Hand Gestures (of which the author is unknown). It should been noted that the Asamyutha Hastas (Single Hand Gestures) classified in the Natyashastra is slightly different from those in Hasta Lakshana Deepika. Mohiniyattam follows the Abhinaya concepts written in Hasta Lakshana Deepika and Abhinaya Darpana (Mirror of Gesture) authored by Nandikeswara.

Pathaka, Mudrakya, Katakam, Mushti, Kartharimukha, Shukathunda, Kapithakam, Hamsapaksham, Shikaram, Hamsasyam, Anjali, Ardhachandram, Mukuram, Bhramaram, Soochikamukham, Pallavam, Tripathakam, Mrigasheersham, Sarpashiras, Vardhamanakam, Araalam, Oornanabham, Mukhulam, Katakamukham are the 24 hand gestures.

Hastha Lakshana Deepika is a text exploring the hand gestures used in dancing. Koodiyaatam, Kathakali and Kerala Natanam follow this as the manual of gestures or 'mudras', which is believed to have been written in Kerala. Hastha Lakshana Deepika recognizes 24 basic hand gestures called 'chatur vimsathi mudras' and nearly 300 combined gestures.
Source: SEVENTY YEARS OF KERALA NATANAM by G Vinodini, Trivandrum,