The Crow-riding Goddess Dhumavati


Academy of Fine Arts and Literature

Academy of Fine Arts and Literature
New Delhi, India

A black crow being her emblem, the divinity riding a chariot driven by a pair of crows is essentially Dhumavati, a goddess in the line of Kali and one of the ten Mahavidyas, though contrary to her appearance in the painting, texts perceive her as ugly, unsteady and angry. She has been conceived in scriptures as dressed in dirty clothes like a widow and as having rough nasty ears, long loose pendulous breasts, large and crooked nose, and either without teeth or with very long and ugly ones. Considered inauspicious and dangerous and being frightful in appearance her shrines are only occasionally opened. By here in the painting she has normal two hands. In one of them she carries a winnowing basket and the other is held in boon conferring gesture. The artist has deleted all ugliness and substituted it with a divine form elegantly dressed and crowned. Like Padmavati, she has under her a full blooming lotus.


  • Title: The Crow-riding Goddess Dhumavati
  • Date: 1900/1910
  • Physical Dimensions: 17.5x16 cm
  • Provenance: Pahari School
  • Subject Keywords: Crow
  • Medium: Paper

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