The Goddess Durga Slaying the Buffalo Demon (Durga Mahishasura Mardini)
India (Himachal Pradesh, probably Chamba)
H. 22 1/2 in. (57.2 cm); W. 13 in. (33 cm); D. 8 1/2 in. (21.6 cm)
Funds from various donors, 2008
Not on view
Even though the demon Mahisha is disguised as a buffalo, Durga crushes the beast with her foot and slays him with her trident, whereupon the demon reveals himself in anthropomorphic form and pleads for mercy. Each of Durga’s eight arms displays a weapon lent to her by the male gods for this task. This shrine, with its distinctive temple towers, evokes the architecture of Himachal Pradesh, as does the lotus-petal nimbus framing the goddess’s head, a motif specific to imagery of the Chamba Valley region.
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