Most of the Purāṇas contain sections
devoted to the arts. In some they provide context while in others,
they are akin to the texts of form and technique, specially śilpa,
citra, nāṭya and nṛtya. A free narrative style of the Purāṇas
facilitates an understanding of the śilpa (i.e. measurement,
proportion and iconography) and the Āgama aspect (i.e. ritual and the
worship methodologies) together. Also, since the Purāṇas are texts
which move freely in time and space, social strata, they are able to
make connections between different levels of society as also in
different periods of history.
The present volume Kālikāpuraṇe
Mūrtivinirdeśaḥ, is a selection of 550 verses from the Kālikā Purāṇa
roughly ascribed to the period between tenth and eleventh
centuries CE. It is an important landmark for understanding the
iconography as also the ritual practices related to Śaiva images
particularly the Devī in eastern India. The sculptured style of
medieval eastern India is distinctive and cannot be mistaken for
contemporary sculptural style prevalent in Bengal and Orissa. What is
true of the sculptural style is also true of the iconographical
details of images from Assam and specially some only recently
excavated and housed in the Assam State Museum.
For understanding the iconography of
these images, the Kālikā Purāṇa is an indispensable tool. The detailed
descriptions enable one to comprehend the particularities of the
iconographical details. The Purāṇa is specially concerned with
Kāmākhyā, Kālī and Kāpālī-Bhairavi. The fusion of the legend and the
iconographical details can, no doubt, help in further interpretative
work on eastern India sculpture.
Equally significant are the sections relating to the methodogies of
worship through rituals. Very fine and sensitive details are
enumerated as to how to meditate upon and worship the Goddess
specially Kāmeśvarī (Kāmākhyā).