Nandi is Shiva's mount and the gate keeper of Shiva in Hindu mythology. He is seen as full of "joy" (nandi) in the presence of his master. An image of controlled virility and devotion, he would typically be placed in front of a Shiva temple facing a shrine. Dating from the 13th century, this is a masterpiece of carving in the hard granite typically used in South India. The animal is masterfully observed reclining with its legs tucked under, richly caparisoned with pendants, yet sculpturally transformed into a timeless and iconic representation of power and devotion; for another example, in the Denver Art Museum, see S. Kramrisch, Manifestations of Shiva, 1981, p. 26, cat. no. 24.