Chandi is a great goddess and conceived as mother principle and naturally was associated, rather almost identified with the cult of the Mother-goddess or Shakti which is actually divine creation power operative in the production and government of the universe. The Mother-goddess is conceived as the personification of the primordial energy and the source of all divine as well as cosmic evolution. Thus she is identified with the Supreme Being conceived as the source and spring as well as the controller of all the forces and potentialities of nature. It is this Shakti, which makes god active and effective. There are different names and forms of Shakti and among them one is Chandi. The Mahabharata mentions various epithets of goddess Shakti Durga, Uma, Parvati, Chandi, Kali, Mahakali and so on. Moreover the Devimahatmya containing an account of the greatness of the great goddess, Chandi. The cult of Shakti is very much popular in tantric world, especially in Tibet, Nepal, and other regions that are following this tradition of Faith. Goddess Chandi has the power to protect the suffering beings from all harm and destroys all sorts of evil spirits and bestows peace and prosperity. She is very popular since ancient period.
The images of Chandi are both peaceful and wrathful. Numerous eight or eighteen-armed images of the goddess have been noticed. The present beautiful eighteen-armed image of goddess Chandi depicts her peaceful aspect. She is seated in vajraparyankasana on a lotus emerging from a lake. Two Chinese style beautiful dragons have been depicted each side of the stem of lotus flower. Her first pair of principal hands, held near the chest, is in mystic mudra, while another pair is holding sacred book and chakra (?). One right hand is in abhaya-mudra and remaining right hands are holding flaming sword, rosary, lotus, axes and vajra, while the lefts hands are holding, victories banner, lotus, vase, noose, wheel, conch and kalasha. Her hair is partly upturned in knots with decoration and falls on shoulders. She is adorned with exquisitely designed crown, earrings, necklaces, armlets, anklets, waistband, scarves and dhoti. There is a wisdom fire aureole behind her body and a parasol above her head. Upper corners are filled with beautiful clouds, while the foreground and the lower corners are with offerings, lakes and mountainous landscape with natural vegetation etc.
The painting is very much suitable for sadhana and ritual. The light complexion painting is brilliantly drawn and painted.
James Hastings (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. I & II
Hugo E. Kreijger, Kathmandu Valley Painting: The Jucker Collection, London, 1999
Jitendra Nath Banerjea, The Development of Hindu Iconography, Delhi, 2002(reprint)
N.K. Bhattasali, Iconography of Buddhist and Brahmanical Sculptures in the Dacca Museum, Delhi, 1972 (reprint)
T.A. Gopinatha Rao, Elements Of Hindu Iconography, Delhi, 1997(reprint)
This description is by Dr. Shailendra K. Verma, whose Doctorate thesis is on "Emergence and Evolution of the Buddha Image (From its inception to 8th century A.D.)".