The Ninth Day of Christmas: Ladies Dancing

We have just one lady dancing for you today, but what a lady! This statue shows the image of the Hindu goddess Kali, who is shown dancing on her husband Shiva. Kali in Sanskrit means ‘She who is Black’ or ‘She who is Death’, and she is the Hindu goddess of time, doomsday and death. As is seen with our statue, the common imagery of Kali is a black or blue woman who is naked with her tongue hanging out, with multiple arms, a necklace of heads and dancing on her husband the god Shiva. But why is she dancing on Shiva?


The answer to that question comes from the origin story of the goddess herself. One version tells us that the goddess Durga while fighting a desperate battle against the demon Raktabiia, whose spilt blood created duplicate versions of himself, summoned Kali forth from the furrows of her forehead. Kali proceeded to destroy Raktabija by sucking the blood from his body. In a victory celebration Kali danced across the battlefield. Dancing with a destructive frenzy Kali almost destroyed the whole universe before Shiva lay down beneath her feet, in an attempt to stop her. On realising who was under her feet she was calmed and ceased her destructive dance.


About uoamuseums

The University of Aberdeen's Museums include King’s Museum and the University's Zoology Museum. The museums can claim to be Scotland's oldest, with records of museums and collections as far back as the late 17th century. Thanks to their status as a Recognised Collection of national significance, the Zoology Museum’s displays are currently being improved, while King's Museum hosts changing exhibitions drawn from across the collections, particularly those formerly in Marischal Museum. Visitors are warmly welcomed to the museums, and there are no charges for admission. Marischal College now houses the Museums Collections Centre, caring for and conserving many of the collections.
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