A Chola bronze showing the cosmic dance of Siva, now in the Musee Guimet. Taken as a symbol of the Universe, the image is half male and half female, depicted in this sculpture through the ear ornaments. The image in the Chithamparam temple is the earliest and the forerunner of the dancing images of Siva. [Photo courtesy: Vasudha Narayan, A Hundred Autumns to Live: An Introduction to Hindu Traditions]