sovereign ruler and protector of the western cardinal point in Newari culture,
goddess Bhadrakali in this brocadeless Newari Thangka in her almighty
eight-armed (Ashta-bhuja) form is a riveting divine vision for the devotee and
a nightmare for the forces of evil. Against the background of a pleasing blue
sky whose expansiveness is only a shred of the vastness of Mahakali, stands
the dark-skinned Devi in a striking “birthing posture”, making this Bhadrakali
Thangka a Tantrokta (prescribed by Tantra) representation of the great Hindu mother goddess.
(Masterpiece from The Collection of Rajendra Raj Bajracharya)
Bhadrakali Thangka is outlined by auspicious turmeric and saffron hues and
depicts Maa Kali amidst the lush greenery of Nepal’s high raising mountains.
Devi’s platform is made from a combination of Utpala (blue lily, associated
with night) and Padma (red lotus linked with morning) underlining her sway over
every aspect of Kaala or time. Beneath her extended feet, Devi tramples two
male figures that represent the enemies of Dharma (righteousness). In her hands
that make a chakra (discus) like formation parallel to the fiery aureole,
Bhadrakali carries Khadaga (sword), damru (drum), Khatvanga (a sharp-edged
weapon and symbol of Shiva), Dhaala (shield), Trishula (trident), severed head,
a skull cup filled with blood and the “Bindu Mudra”, which is made during
ritually sprinkling blood on the deity in a Tantric ritual.
enthralling visage has three wide eyes and an ethereal expression which is
magnified by her flaming tresses adorned with a sword and skull-studded gold
crown. Intricately designed gold ornaments cover Bhadrakali’s celestial form
complemented by a brocaded green scarf, a skirt of tiger hide, and a garland of
severed heads. Devi’s body in this Newari Thangka appears emaciated with her
bones highlighted by a darker tone of blue on her legs, arms, and face, a
characteristic that makes the goodness enemies shudder with incomprehensible
fear. The squatting posture of Maa Bhadrakali is an iconographical feature of
mother-goddess images in Hindu tradition which symbolizes the moment of
childbirth and is considered a propitious fertility motif in a Tantra ritual.
secondary members in this Bhadrakali Newari Thangka are two lion-faced images,
a dancing Jogi, a skeleton, and a jackal. The lion-faced goddess can be
identified as Dakini Simhamukha or Sintong (Wisdom Dakini) who represents the
transformation of human anger and passion into enlightened wisdom. Owing to her
ferocious form and potent energies, the Dakini is worshipped as an extension of
Bhadrakali herself. The miniature figures of the Tantric initiate (Jogi),
skeleton, and jackal around the burning pyre recreate the environment of
Shamshaan (cremation ground) which is where Shamshan-Nivasini Maa Kali dwells.
Though secondary in the composition of this Newari Bhadrakali Thangka painting,
these figures bring an appreciable dynamism and mysticism to it. Encased within
a fine wooden frame, this Bhadrakali Thangka will carry with it the motherly
prowess of the dark-skinned goddess to your space and will guide you towards
the celestial light which only Maa Kali can bestow.
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend