Bhadrakali within the Rising Sun
Page from a "Tantric Devi" series
Artist/maker unknown, India
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The Great Goddess (Devi), worshiped across India, has many names and many forms. Here, Devi appears at the core of a gleaming golden sun that shines from a templelike frame. In the late seventeenth to early eighteenth century, painters from Himachal Pradesh sometimes pasted little pieces of the shell of iridescent beetles onto their paintings as additional ornamentation. This precious substance-combined with the lavish use of gold and bright, rare pigments-made these works luxury goods in their own right. This painting is the first page of a spectacular series that reveals the multiplicity of the Great Goddess through both words and images.