The Devi is flanked by dharm and adharm. To Her right are Indradeva and young siddha. While Indra is a heavenly being in His vibrant red silk and pearly shringar, and the thousand eyes that grace His body; the siddha is the perfect mortal and dressed like one. To the left of Bhadrakali is an asura, whose tribe is at perpetual war with the devas. He is big and boorish; and while His adornments are no match for Indra, He is as much of the immortal realm as He is. All three stand before Bhadrakali with their palms joined in namaskaram, supplicating to Her because She is all-powerful and lords over the dharmic cycle itself. Note how the shades of Her halo blend with the moors painted in the background of the painting.
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This painting shows Goddess Bhadrakali, the Benign-dark Goddess. The venomous serpents encoiled against her body and hair have forked, lolling tongues symbolizing her destructive powers. This is further reinforced by the two fangs protruding from the corners of her mouth. However, her poise here is gentle and reassuring, and her right palm is raised as if in blessing. Using these contrary signals, this composition emphasizes the Great Goddess’s essentially dual nature as both the power behind and also one who is responsible for destruction.
She is dressed in a short golden bodice. With her lehenga (long skirt) ending just above her anklets, the Goddess stands with a sun-like nimbus framing her head. Three different individuals pay homage to her – on her right is Indra with a young Brahmin; and to her right is a demon. The Goddess makes it obvious who her favorites are, with her face turned towards them. Both of them look upto her with awe and affection.
This painting is from the Basohli School, which is characterized by a bold and vigorous use of colors. It also had a typical facial formula of its own, consisting of a receding forehead, a high nose and prominent lotus-like eyes.