India, state of Tamil Nadu, Chola dynasty,
This delightfully plump, dancing child is dynamic from every angle. Born in the seventh century in a south Indian town, Sambandar sang his first devotional verse as a young child in a temple courtyard. After a golden cup of milk miraculously appeared in his hand, he explained its source by pointing upwards, the gesture seen here, towards an image of the goddess Parvati. The child-saint's four thousand verses are still sung today, and his image is honored within all major south Indian temples devoted to Shiva.