Mar 26, 2014

Kali Attacking Nisumbha

Kali Attacking Nisumbha

c. 1740

Color on paper

Image: 22 x 33 cm (8 11/16 x 13 in.); Overall: 23.7 x 35.2 cm (9 5/16 x 13 7/8 in.)

Edward L. Whittemore Fund 1968.44



The powerful black Hindu goddess Kali effortlessly slays an eight-armed spotted green demon with an impossibly long trident. His chariot horses and two minions lie incapacitated below. Kali’s tongue lolls out, indicating her ability to catch blood before it touches the ground: one of her demonic enemies has blood that generates another demon every time one drop comes in contact with the earth. The demon is a metaphor for wicked thoughts that give rise to more evil thoughts; Kali aids her followers in eradicating them all.

See also
Indian Art
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.