Saint Sambandar

India, Tamil Nadu
Chola period, 12th century
Copper alloy
H. 18 7/8 in. (47.9 cm); 1979.24

Artist Comments

Ping Chong
Few cultures in the world can rival the complexity, richness, and sophistication of India's dance and music. This image of the child Saint Sambandar seems to single-handedly embody this fact. It is a masterful distillation of two art forms, music and dance, into another, sculpture. Saint Sambandar fairly ignites the space around him in a celebratorial whirl of visual sound and motion. The plenitude of gesture in both Indian dance and music must surely account for the frequency of lithe hand gestures and poses, as well as intricate, visual detail consistently present in Indian sculpture as exemplified by this work. As such, Indian sculpture always seems musical to the senses, unabashedly expressive of the innate ripeness and sensuality of life itself.

Francesco Clemente