CHAMUNDA is an embodiment of the most fierce aspect of the cosmic energy manifested in the female form. As narrated in the Devi Mahatmya, sometime after the Great Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura, the gods approached her to kill the two mighty demons Shumbha and Nishumbha who had collected a huge army of several fierce demons and were terrorising the gods. When the fight ensued, they sent their generals one after the other to defeat the Goddess. When their powerful generals Chanda and Munda advanced towards her with their army, she turned dark with anger and created Kali, out of her eyebrows, to kill both of them.
Kali was given the name Chamunda by the Great Goddess herself when she slew Chanda and Munda. During the same battle, Chamunda also performed a horrific act of drinking the blood of the demon Raktabija, each drop of whose blood could give instantaneous birth to mighty demons, if fallen on the earth.
She is supposed to have a terrible countenance, gaping mouth with fangs, lolling tongue and deep sunken eyes. Though in the Devi Mahatmya itself she is armed only with a sword and a noose, later texts endow her with multiple arms. She enjoys a prominent position particularly in the Tantric rituals.
The image is a powerful representation of Chamunda, seated on a pedestal resting her left foot on a corpse, holding vajra, damaru, khadga, akshamala, khatwanga and kapala in her six hands, the remaining two being broken. She looks fierce with her two fangs jutting out of the corners of her mouth and her bulging eyes. Flames emanating from her head form a halo. Probably following the characteristic of Shiva images, she also wears earrings of two different designs in her ears. She is also adorned with a necklace, armlets, udarbandha, kamarbandh and anklets. The details of the ornaments are sparse but her rounded body emanates considerable feminine charm.
11th Century CE
87 x 61 x 34 cms.