The Goddess Chandi

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Calcutta (present-day Kolkata), West Bengal, Bengal Region, India, Asia

Late 19th century

Transparent and opaque watercolor on paper

Sheet: 18 1/16 × 11 1/16 inches (45.9 × 28.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Stella Kramrisch, 1968

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Chandi is a local goddess with ancient roots and a strong following in Bengal. Her elaborate story is told in the narrative compilation known as the Mangalkavya, which also tells of the goddess Manasa. She is often represented seated upon a lotus with an elephant, an image that overlaps with depictions of the more widely venerated goddess Parvati holding her elephant-headed son Ganesha. Merging aspects of Chandi's identity with other goddesses may have been part of a strategy to built legitimacy for this regional deity by associating her with the larger pan-Indic pantheon.