The gory beauty of Devi Chhinnamasta, captured in the gentle medium of the thangka. The most grotesque of the Mahavidyas, Her very name translates to ‘the one possessed of the severed (chhinna) head (masta)’. She is possessed of veera rasa (warrior aspect), bhayanaka rasa (wrathful aspect), and shringara rasa (erotic aspect).
The complexion of Her naked body is an unmistakable red, like burning embers. Her head is freshly severed by Her own scythe. The blood of Her veins spurts out in all directions, straight into the mouths of attendants, as naked and as beautiful - and as gory - as She is. Behind this terror-inducing figure is a serene landscape executed in pale pastels.
Kamadeva and Rati are an integral aspect of this Mahavidya’s iconography. At the feet of Chhinnamasta, their bed is a gigantic lotus bloom. Its gorgeous pink petals open up about them, revealing the two in the throes of passion (interestingly, it is the woman who is always depicted on top of the man).
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