An illustration from a Markendeya Purana series, Kangra

Opaque pigment on paper heightened with gold

Image 13.7 x 20.6 cm.; folio 15.5 x 22.5 cm. Circa 1810

llustrating a scene from the Devi Mahatmya, the might of the manifested Devi and her sakti force is brought to bear on the giant demon Sumbha. Kausiki is shown on her tiger mount, mutli-armed brandishing various weapons bringing up the rear. Before her is a wall of saktis on their vahanas (vehicles) who descend upon the charging Sumbha who has already sustained the first blow from the trident of Shiva-duti. The saktis of Vishnu’s third and fourth avatars as Varaha and Narasimha do battle with the diminutive demon figures in the foreground. The terrifying Kali, with her emaciated form, sagging breasts and dome-like leopard skin skirt dominates the centre of the composition. Compare with other pages depicting the similar scenes in F.S. Aijazuddin, Pahari Paintings and Sikh Portraits in the Lahore Museum, London, 1977, nos. 41 (xviii and xix), p. 47, Joachim Bautze, Lotusmond und Lowenritt: Indische Miniaturmaleri, Stuttgart, 1991, no. 17, p. 67 and Sotheby’s, New York, March 22, 1989, lot 165