Camundi

The image of Camundi was found in Ardimulyo village, about two kilometres north of Candi Singosari, in 1927. A farmer found the statue, but after its discovery he often had nightmares and suffered from misfortune in life. Therefore, he believed that this statue had given him bad luck, and he smashed it to pieces. The broken statue was almost bought by a Dutch collector. With incredible patience, and aided by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, whose director was Jan Fontein, the fragments were eventually put back together and the statue reconstructed, despite the fact that many pieces were missing. The statue is currently in the Trowulan Museum in East Java.

Statue of Camundi at Museum Trowulan

The back support of the statue has an inscription. On the basis of this inscription, several scholars, especially L.C. Damais, have identified the goddess in the image as Camundi. In South India Camundi is another manifestation of Durga (Kali). In North India she is called Camunda. Camunda/Camundi belongs to the group of the Seven goddesses (sapta matrika), and is the consort (shakti) of Bhairava, Shiva’s tantric manifestation. The statue is therefore an expression of Shaiva tantric worship.

Inscription statue of Camundi

Here she sits cross-legged on top of two dead bodies, which represent defeated demons. Part of both legs and one of the dead bodies is missing. Part of the face and chest are also missing. The head of the statue is encircled by an oval shaped halo. She wears a garland of skulls as a necklace. She has eight arms. Her left hands hold a noose (pasha), a bow (dhanus), a severed head (of one of the demons) and a skull cup (kapala). Her right hands hold a trident (trishula), a damaged attribute, a sword (khadga) and an arrow (bana).

Camundi is accompanied by Ganesha (on her right) and Bhairava (on her left), both dancing on a row of skulls. The Bhairava seems to be an exact copy of the Bhairava that is now in Leiden. On the support plate around the main statue we can still see carvings of a small image of a goddess seated on the back of a big fish and a decoration of floral motifs.

The Indian text Devi Mahatmya explains that Durga became very angry when she fought the two giant brothers, Canda and Munda. From Durga's forehead emerged Kali in a very terrifying manifestation, holding a sword, a noose and an arrow, and wearing a tiger skin cloth and a necklace made of human skulls. She had red eyes, her tongue sticking out and a skinny body, and was uttering a very scary scream. In the battle against the giants Canda and Munda, Kali was victorious. Since that time Kali has been known as Camunda/Camundi.
 
The inscription on the back of the Camundi statue contains eight lines of text. Some of the letters are damaged because the statue was smashed and some small parts were lost. The first line is written in Nagari script, the others in Old Javanese script. The language is Old Javanese mixed with some Sanskrit.

The inscription was first read by Goris. He identified the date as 1254 Shaka (= AD 1332). L.C. Damais improved the reading and suggested that the date was actually 1214 Shaka (= AD 1292). This then, is the last inscription issued by Kertanagara, the last king of the Singhasari dynasty. The statue was, according to the inscription, commissioned by the king (called Shri Maharaja) to commemorate his victories and secure future victories.