Illustration to the Devi Mahatmya: The Demon Army

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Illustration to the Devi Mahatmya: The Demon Army

Kapoor Galleries Inc.
 

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The Demon Army

Folio from the Devi Mahatmya
c. 1820-1840
Gouache with gold on paper
Folio: 9 1/4 x 12 3/4 in. (23.5 x 32.4 cm.)
Image: 6 3/4 x 10 3/4 in. (17.1 x 27.3 cm.)

 

This painting depicts the demon army on its way to battle the Devi
(goddess). It appears that they are being lead by the demon Nishumbha,
as there is one clear leader surrounded by cronies, indicated by
positioning and scale. Nishumbha and his counterpart Shumbha could not
be vanquished by any man, so the gods asked Devi to intervene, and she
successfully defeated the demons. The bright colors incorporated into
this image are highly characteristic of the Jaipur school, wherein
artists were skilled in using palette to highlight figural detail and
capture the emotional atmosphere.

Nishumbha is said to have battled the Devi, first with a sword that she
ultimately cut with a sharp edged arrow, next proceeding to split his
shield. He then hurled his spear toward her, but that, too, missed its
target and was split in half by the Devi's discus. This present image
shows Nishumbha en route to battle, as his sword and shield are still
fully in tact.

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Kapoor Galleries Inc., 34 east 67th st, New York, NY 10065, United States