The body coverings or kavacham would have been commissioned for decorating a female Hindu deity image either at a temple or for private worship. With serpents curled around the breasts and at the shoulders, the deity is possibly a goddess of fertility. Snakes are considered a symbol of fertility and frequently worshipped in South India. Although an image of a deity in stone or metal almost always incorporates representations of apparel and jewellery, the ancient ritual of dressing and ornamenting the deity as though it were alive has continued through the ages and is even practiced today. Ornaments and attire in former contact with the deity image are believed to have acquired a special sanctity.