Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Goddess with Weapons in Her Hair

2nd century B.C.
North India (possibly Kausambi, Uttar Pradesh)
Copper alloy
H. 2 13/16 in. (7.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Gift of Samuel Eilenberg, in honor of Steven Kossak, 1987
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 234
This miniature figure is among the earliest known representations in metal of a goddess with weapons radiating from her hair. The style suggests she was made in the Ganges basin region of northern India—probably at the ancient Magadha capital of Pataliputra (Patna)—and attests to this region being instrumental in the development of this iconography. About the early fifth century, the fully elaborated form of the goddess Durga appears, first in a rock-cut depiction at Udayagiri, displaying the same weapons. While the precise identity of our figure is unknown, she is clearly part of an emerging protector goddess tradition.
Samuel Eilenberg , New York (until 1987; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Lotus Transcendent: Indian and Southeast Asian Art from the Samuel Eilenberg Collection," October 2, 1991–June 28, 1992.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Mother India: The Goddess in Indian Painting," June 29, 2011–November 27, 2011.

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