The Indian goddess Kali (Cali) is both a warrior goddess who protects mankind and a goddess of destruction and death. In some respects, she reminds me of many institutions that provide both succor and disaster. Her appearance is frightening. She has four arms; one of which brandishes a sword and another that holds a human head by its hair. A necklace of human skulls falls from her neck to her knees. However, Kali's scary appearance is ameliorated by the lovely border of English cabbage roses and lilies and the rather cartoon-like innocence on Kali's face. The outside of the bowl shows either god-like figures or humans dressed in ceremonial costumes. I am not sure who they are.
The pattern is copied from a source print titled "Washing of the Goddess Cali and the Idol Jagan-Nath," Cyclopedia Londiniensis, 1805. Don't miss it; its at the end of this post. It was engraved and/or drawn by J. Chapman. Jagannath is a Hindu deity who is also know as Juggernaut. I already knew the meaning of the word juggernaut, as its use in English means "overpowering force of destruction". Jagan-Nath is the smiling idol on Kali's right.
My husband always refers to the bowl as the "Kali Bowl." I know just the bowl he means. It is unique.
|Kali pattern bowl, 11.5 inches in diameter and 5 inches high, c. 1825|
|Center of the Kali bowl|
|Inside border of the Kali bowl|
|Outside border of the Kali bowl|
|Kali source print, 1805|