Textile Fragment with Gods and Demons, Likely a Scene from the Devi Mahatmya
ca. 15th century
Nepal (Kathmandu Valley)
Silk embroidery on polished cotton
4 1/4 x 17 3/4 in. (10.8 x 45.1 cm)
Purchase, Bequest of Nina Bunshaft, by exchange, and funds from various donors, 2005
This textile fragment once formed part of a temple hanging, likely associated with the goddess (devi) celebrated as Durga Mahisasuramardini. At far right we can detect the multiarmed goddess devastating the armies of Mahisasura. Durga’s exploits are celebrated in the Devi Mahatmya (“Glory of the Goddess”), a text preserved in manuscript form in Nepal from at least the eleventh century. This exquisite silk embroidery is a rare survivor of the textile arts in medieval Nepal.