The goddess Chamunda is depicted with her hair piled up into a chignon originally adorned with a tiara of skulls and a crescent moon. The emaciated features of her face are frozen in a menacing expression where everything calls for terror: the mouth is open, heavy skin folds cover her forehead and nose, while her bulging eyes scare the beholder

On her skeletal body, we notice a scorpion engraved above her belly button, symbol of illness and death. Chamunda is depicted largely undressed, except for a short diaphanous dhoti at the waist.

Like the representations of Shiva in his wrathful form of Bhairava, steles depicting Chamunda are frequently found on the outer walls of temples. They may also appear both in shrines dedicated to Shiva or those of the goddess herself.

The rarity of the corpus of marble steles from medieval Gujarat can be explained by the various Muslim conquests whose iconoclasm has led to the significant destruction of Hindu religious edifices, leaving us with only a few architectural testimonies.

Rare Stele of the Goddess Chamunda

  • Cambodia, Khmer
  • Angkor period, Bayon style
  • Late 12th - early 13th century
  • Bronze
  • L. 19 cm
  • Provenance :

• From the Estate of a private English collector. Acquired in the 1970’s.

• Jonathan Tucker & Antonia Tozer, 2019, acquired from the above

Photo credit : Studio Asselberghs – Frédéric Dehaen

The goddess Chamunda is depicted with her hair piled up into a chignon originally adorned with a tiara of skulls and a crescent moon. The emaciated features of her face are frozen in a menacing expression where everything calls for terror: the mouth is open, heavy skin folds cover her forehead and nose, while her bulging eyes scare the beholder

On her skeletal body, we notice a scorpion engraved above her belly button, symbol of illness and death. Chamunda is depicted largely undressed, except for a short diaphanous dhoti at the waist.

Like the representations of Shiva in his wrathful form of Bhairava, steles depicting Chamunda are frequently found on the outer walls of temples. They may also appear both in shrines dedicated to Shiva or those of the goddess herself.

The rarity of the corpus of marble steles from medieval Gujarat can be explained by the various Muslim conquests whose iconoclasm has led to the significant destruction of Hindu religious edifices, leaving us with only a few architectural testimonies.