Kali standing on a corpse

Kali standing on a corpse

This is Kali (consort of Siva), also referred to as Durga, standing on Siva’s corpse. This form of Kali called Dakshinakali and is very popular in Bengal. Kali corpse side

The legend has it that after conquering her enemies in the battlefield (Either Mahisha or Chanda and Munda) Kali’s fury was uncontrollable. In response to pleas from other Gods, Siva took the form of a corpse and put himself in Kali’s path. When Kali stepped on him, she realized that she is stepping on her husband. A strict no-no in Indian culture. That realization controlled her fury.

In this bronze, she is combining her benevolent nature with the ferocious aspects. Her right side hands are in Varada (boon Kali corpse backgiving) and Abhaya (protective) mudra (gesture).  Whereas her left side hands are holding a serrated sword and a severed head of a demon. To add to the macabre nature, she is wearing a garland made of ten-severed-heads.  As is normal the serenity on her face gives no indication of the gory scene.

The fan-like finial on her head is typical of the Bengal region. The back view shows matted hair and bundled up hair.  Her ornamentation is complete and profuse.

The bronze is about 13 cm in height and may date to the eighteenth/nineteenth century. The bronze is from Bengal.


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