Of the Hindu gods, Shiva is considered one of the most important. While considered a man, he is seen as more symbolic of various spiritual qualities than male or even human characteristics. He is known as the God of destruction which has both negative and positive connotations in Hinduism. Since the Hindu faith embraces recreation, destruction is not the end of life, but the beginning of a new incarnation on earth. Shiva thus represents birth as much as he represents death. This duality is perhaps responsible for his depiction as a highly androgynous figure. His softened and painted features appear more feminine than masculine while his body appears to resemble a man more than a woman.