Shiva Bhikshatana

1040 AD
Rajaraja Museum, Thanjavur

Shiva wanders the earth as a beggar, accompanied by a dog who jumps up for scraps. The god is naked except for a snake around his hips, sturdy sandals on his feet, and various ornaments. His left lower hand holds Brahma's skullcap; his right upper hand holds a drum, on which he taps out the rhythm of the universe. The drum, dog, and skullcap secondarily associate this form of Shiva with the cremation-ground.