Posted on: 11 August 2013

Figure of Kālī striding over recumbent Śiva. Her necklace is formed of several skulls, while in her hand she carries a further gory trophy. Her crown is of a specifically Bengali type. Made of painted and gilded clay.


Curator's comments:
Dallapiccola 2004:

During the battle between Durga and Mahisha, the goddess became so incensed that her wrath burst out of her forehead in the form of Kali ('the black'), who symbolizes both the creative and destructive powers of time. Her blackness hints at the dissolution of individuality in the timeless darkness which is also filled with the potential for new life. Kali loves battlefields and cremation grounds, where she dances surrounded by jackals and ghouls among the smoking funeral pyres. Once her frenzied dancing threatened the stability of the whole universe, so the gods plead with Shiva to intervene. He succeeded in calming her by throwing himself among the corpses under her feet.

Clay images, such as this, were and still are fashioned for the Kalipuja, one of the most important festivals in Bengal, which is celebrated in the autumn. Once the ceremonies are completed the images are paraded through the streets and then immersed in the waters of a lake or river where they dissolve.

Blurton 2006:
It has been suggested that this image was produced in Krishnanagar, an important centre for clay-image production following the settlement there of craftsmen from Natore by Maharaja Krishnachandra Ray (1710-1783), the famous royal devotee of Kali and promoter of her cult who was instrumental in developing the Durga Puja as a major public ritual.

This image belongs to a group of ten painted-clay sculptures of deities, including other goddesses, which must have been made before 1894, when they came to the British Museum. These wonderful clay images illustrating the myths of Bengal are important indicators of the work of nineteenth century craftsmen who drew on traditions reaching back several centuries and whose descendants continue this ancient custom to this day.

© Trustees of the British Museum

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Awesome! Jai Maa Kali.

Sameer,this is nt demon but lord shiva..

Sameer PHULESE Lod Shiv is not a demon but supreme God

I am sorry I did not know that its lord shiva under Kaali Feet. My apologies

Iam not really happy with the depiction of Lord Shiva artists then I guess did not have good imagination or did no research .I love the depict of Kali Maa though.


pronam maa

Kali is the protective and in that role also destructive, power of Shiva. When she is projected, Shiva is passive and witnesses her work. This is depicted here. The many heads and hands are of demons that she slays in her work as the protecting mother.

Jai Maa Kali

Maa, please bless and protect us all