Emergence of Kaushiki


Emergence of Kaushiki



The painting illustrates an episode from the Devi Mahatmya of the Markandeya Purana (LXXXV, 40). Once when Parvati, the consort of Shiva, went to bathe in the river Ganga, all the gods prayed to her to protect them from the powerful
demons Shumbha and Nishumbha. Parvati split herself into two forms, one form of surpassing beauty called Kaushiki, and the other a fierce dark form, Kali, who temporarily moved away to live in the Himalaya.
The scene is laid against the river Ganga flowing down from the snowclad peaks of the Himalaya. Kaushiki, the goddess of ethereal beauty, who has just emerged from Parvati, stands there exchanging a word with her, watched by the gods.
The most significant features of the painting are the far hillsides with wavy rims on pale edges, and the special type of female form with sensuous curves, tenderly rounded breasts, and dignified stance. The goddess has long black strands of hair, a rounded bun at the back, and serene demeanour. The stark bare background acts as a foil to her feminine grace.
The series of Markandeya Purana to which this painting belongs, is a noteworthy example of pre-Kangra art which can be ascribed safely to Guler. W G Archer dated the set to circa 1745.


Indian Miniature Paintings

Object Type

Miniature Painting


Opaque watercolour on paper


Pahari school




c 1770


Guler, Himachal Pradesh


19.3 x 24.5 cm (with border), 14.4 x 19.7 cm (without border).