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Chinese Gardens: Pavilions, Studios, Retreats

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Durga as Slayer of the Buffalo Demon Mahisha (Mahishasura Mardini)

Date:
14th–15th century
Culture:
Nepal
Medium:
Gilt copper alloy, inlaid with semiprecious stones
Dimensions:
H. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Alice and Nasli M. Heeramaneck, 1986
Accession Number:
1986.498
  • Description

    This eighteen-armed version of the goddess (devi) Durga originally stood on a pedestal upon which she vanquished the buffalo-demon Mahisha, trampling him with one foot while transfixing him with Shiva’s trident. This display of the victory of good over evil followed a battle in which Mahisha had defeated the male gods. In despair, they invited Durga to serve as their champion, each lending her a magical weapon. In killing the buffalo-demon, Durga liberated the universe from darkness. Durga is the supreme expression of the power of the devi, represented as “the unassailable, the unconquerable.”

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    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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