Kali (Eight armed)

Kali Camel and Lion

It is a challenge to identify the Goddesses when the iconography is endless. Here she is identified as Kali, more due to the ferocious aspects of the attributes, skull garland,  severed heads on the base and her holding a cobra. Because of her eight-arms, some may refer to her as Bhadra Kali.Kali back.jpg

Here Kali is eight-armed and is holding sword, arrow, snake, Trishul, drum, shield, bow and a cup. Starting from her lower right hand and clockwise.  The attributes snake, Trishul, drum and skull cup mark this Vigraha is of Saivite origin.

It is the vahanas, yes two of them, makes this bronze special. On her right is the lion, usually the vahana of Parvati or Durga. On her left is a camel. Unusual for bronze from South India. In Rajasthan, Camel is the vahana of  Durga and she is called Ustarawahini or Dasha Maa.

The Vigraha is worn smooth from ritual use. It looks like it was made to slide into a prabhavali slot.

This vigraha is most likely from North Deccan and it is about 8 cm in height.  This may date to the eighteenth century or a bit earlier.

18 Nov 2018: B N Aryan pointed out that she could be called Durga or Simhavahini. That relates to the challenge I talked about at the start of the blog. Same iconography but different names depending on the region.


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