Durga Slaying the Buffalo Demon (Durga Mahishasuramardini) (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

mid-10th century
Indian
cream-colored sandstone with slight traces of pigment
Madhya Pradesh, India
Overall: 29 × 16 1/8 × 9 5/8 in. (73.66 × 40.96 × 24.45 cm)
68.8.21
Hindu India's Great Goddess, Devi, appears in many forms. One of the most formidable of these is Durga, the mighty queen of battle who destroys demons that threaten the universal order. Unlike the Matrikas, each of whom is associated with a particular male deity, Durga is a summation of all their individual powers. Her most celebrated victory, represented here, was over Mahisha, the buffalo demon whom none of the gods could defeat on his own. Irresistibly beautiful but fiercely equipped with all the gods' weapons, Durga pins Mahisha down with her right foot while her lion mount attacks his hindquarters. Incapacitated, the demon attempts to escape by changing into human form, but the goddess quickly drives Shiva's trident into Mahisha's neck and vanquishes him forever.
Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Gift of Paul Mellon
Dye, Joseph M. The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. London: Philipp Wilson, 2001. (cat. no. 43, pp. 143-144)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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