Lot 203
  • 203

A Group of Eighteen Illustrations from a Devi Series

10,000 - 15,000 USD
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  • A Group of Eighteen Illustrations from a Devi Series
  • Opaque watercolor heightened with gold on paper

  • image 10 by 13 11/16 in. (25.4 by 34.9 cm.) and slightly smaller
  • folio 11 3/4 by 15 3/8 in. (29.8 by 39 cm.) and slightly smaller, [18], unframed, 2 illustrated
The present group includes a number of illustrations depicting various episodes from the Devi Mahatmya.

Rishi Markandeya, the composer of the Markandeya Purana and the Devi legends, is pictured here with his pupil, invoking the blessings of the Great Goddess who then appears in her beauteous form of Ambika or Narayani.

Most of the illustrations in this group feature the struggle between Devi and the demon Shumbha. According to the legend, Shumbha along with his brother Nishumbha had vanquished the Gods after receiving a boon of invincibility from Brahma. He was enraptured by the beauty of Devi as soon as he set eyes on her and proposed marriage to her. Devi rebuffed him stating that she would only marry one whom she had defeated in battle. In the ensuing struggle, Devi is victorious and she restores the Gods their kingdom. These illustrations are from the second part of the Devi Mahatmya.

The group also includes a folio featuring the most powerful demon Mahishasura with whom the Goddess engages in a cataclysmic battle resulting in his defeat.


Acquired from the Royal Library of Mandi in 1969

Catalogue Note

For other illustrations from the same series, see Sotheby's New York, September 20, 2005, lot 124 and September 19, 2006, lot 20.