Gilt copper alloy, inlaid with semiprecious stones; 8 1/4 in. (21 cm)
Gift of Alice and Nasli M. Heeramaneck, 1986 (1986.498)
This is one of the finest Nepali depictions of Durga known. The eighteen-armed Hindu goddess Durga, an aspect of the Great Goddess Devi, is depicted in the act of slaying the demon Mahisha. After the gods had been defeated in battle by the all-powerful Mahisha, they created Durga to serve as their champion and turned over to her their weapons. With the force of the collective might transferred by the gods to her, Durga slays the demon, who had transformed himself into a ferocious buffalo. Originally, this Durga was part of a larger ensemble. She stood on the back of the buffalo-demon, supported on a pedestal.