www.IndianMiniaturePaintings.co.uk - Indian miniature painting: Folio from a Devi Mahatmya. Durga on her tiger vahana (mount) and asuras (demons) representing Mahisura in battle. Jaipur, circa 1800. Opaque watercolour with gold and silver on wasli. 19.8 x 13.3cm

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Folio from a Devi Mahatmya. Chandika on her tiger vahana (mount) battles asuras (demons) led by Dhumralochana. Jaipur, circa 1800. Opaque watercolour with gold and silver on wasli. 19.8 x 13.3cm.

When ordered by Shumbha, king of asuras, to capture and bring to him the beautiful Chandika, Dhumralochana leads the asuras to battle her. This is because Chandika had told the messager Sugriva she could only be Shumbha's wife once he had defeated her in battle. Outraged by the very thought of defeat by a woman, he signals his contempt by sending into battle Dhumralochana only for Chandrika to emerge triumphant as her tiger vahana bites and mauls the asana army to death. (In the Devi Mahatmya her vahana is a lion but perhaps because lions have in recent history been isolated to Gujarat whereas in Bengal - the pricipal area of Durga worship - tigers are common. This has and will continue to be a subject of much debate.)

I would like to express my gratitude to Tarun Pant for kindly identifying the scene.

Ref: Jaipur Chandika 21-41011

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Above: gilt detail catching light

All images and text © Peter Blohm

I would like to express my gratitude to Tarun Pant for kindly identifying the scene.

All images and text © Peter Blohm 2004-2011