This ten armed statue represents India's most extensively worshipped deity goddess Kali, also called Mahakali, or Smashana-Kali. Kali cult and Kali worship prevail in India from a shrine to a cremation ground, from a metropolitan city to a tribal hamlet, from a Brahmin's abode to a Shudra's mud-house and from a sage's hut to a dacoit's hideout.
complexioned deity prefers her worship during dark nights inside deep dark
chambers, inaccessible recesses of uninhabited deep forests or cremation
grounds where sound of cracking woods of a burning pyre alone breaks the
silence of death. Kali bestows no bliss but her devotees believe all
blissful in life is only her boon and she takes life as sacrifice, dances
around burning pyres and consume fresh human blood but to her devotees there
is none so benevolent as her in giving life and all that makes it blissful.
To them, she is the most auspicious spiritual presence around wherever they
Kali has been conceived as an awful appearance imparting destruction and as
one who is usually gaunt, has fangs, laughs loudly, dances madly, wears
garlands of corpses, sits on the back of a ghost, feeds herself on fresh
human blood and resides in cremation ground, but quite strangely, despite
this ugly or non-aesthetic appearance, she has been the first love, not only
of the violence-edict warriors, thieves, plunderers, violent tribes or
charmers but also of poets and dramatists from all over the land and from
all ages. Significantly, early textual allusions to Kali worship first
occur, in around sixth century, in literary works of these Sanskrit poets
and dramatists. In religious texts and authorised rituals her appearance is
subsequent. This phenomenon suggests that she must have been a significant
deity of various tribal pantheons of the subcontinent since long before and
her accession in Brahmanical rituals was late.
The earliest religious texts that prescribe her rituals, authorised
iconography and form are mainly the Agni Purana, Garuda Purana, Devi Purana
and Bhagavata Purana. In these 'puranas' Kali has been described as the
goddess bringing success in war and eliminating enemies. Like other female
deities, she did not carry in her hands rosary, lotus, pot or anything which
promotes life. She also did not raise her hand to bless or to impart
'abhaya'. Rather as the goddess of war, destruction and violence, she not
only had multiple hands varying from four to twenty but also carried in them
means and exploits of war. Some texts consider her as an aspect of Durga,
though the tradition of her massive worship and independent status hardly
support this view. There prevails, with greater unanimity, the view that she
is Shiva's consort who dominated him. She is hence often represented as
standing on Shiva's figure and Shiva is seen, as in this statue, as lying
under her feet.
As prescribed in these 'puranas', this statue of the goddess carries in her
ten hands drawn sword, bow and arrow, sickle, mace, discus, shield, bowl
filled with blood, decollated human head, trident and conch. On her waist
she is wearing the girdle of alike-dismembered human hands and decollated
heads and a garland of skulls on her breast. Her eyebrows consist of
venomous female serpents. She has her blood smeared tongue rolling out her
mouth. The statue is essentially votive, but artist's vision of the deity is
as much aesthetic. The lofty crown provides a pleasing contrast. Her round
face, sharp features, proportionate figure, amicably branched arms, fine
long fingers, slim elegant figure, well shaped eyes, befitting ornamentation
and serenity on face could as well be the features of Lakshmi, Psyche or
Venus. The artist has skillfully packed in a single form the ever
conflicting elements - awe and beauty.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes
on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on
Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting
Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on
a number of books.
How to keep a Brass statue well-maintained?
Brass statues are known and appreciated for their exquisite beauty and luster. The brilliant bright gold appearance of Brass makes it appropriate for casting aesthetic statues and sculptures. Brass is a metal alloy composed mainly of copper and zinc. This chemical composition makes brass a highly durable and corrosion-resistant material. Due to these properties, Brass statues and sculptures can be kept both indoors as well as outdoors. They also last for many decades without losing all their natural shine.
Brass statues can withstand even harsh weather conditions very well due to their corrosion-resistance properties. However, maintaining the luster and natural beauty of brass statues is essential if you want to prolong their life and appearance.
In case you have a colored brass statue, you may apply mustard oil using a soft brush or clean cloth on the brass portion while for the colored portion of the statue, you may use coconut oil with a cotton cloth.
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