West Bengal, Calcutta

Not on view

Agamani-vijaya is a genre of popular Bengali (Bangla) song based on the stories of Shiva and Parvati and particularly favored for singing during the Durga puja festival season in the autumn. The songs tell of Parvati, the daughter of the king of the Himalayas, who marries Shiva, seemingly a yogic ascetic with no visible means of support. Parvati’s mother Menace sought Shiva’s permission for her daughter to have a visit to her parental home. The songs composed about her homecoming are known as Agamani songs. Here we see the beautiful and regal Parvati returning home on her lion, cradling the infant Ganesha. Her mother and maid servants Jaya and Vijaya rush forward to greet them. Parvati’s eldest son Skanda appears in the heavenly clouds astride his peacock accompanied by the goddesses Sarasvati and Lakshmi, bearing witness to this joyous reunion. In Bengali culture these goddesses are often considered Parvati-Durga’s children. Nandi, a bearded ascetic carrying a trident (trisula), has accompanied Parvati and Ganesha on their journey. He is the guardian of Shiva’s abode in the Shaiva Siddhanta tradition and alongside the calf-bull Vrsabha, his highest devotee. In the north Indian and Bengal tradition, a new bride departs from her family and enters into that of their husband. Such homecomings, especially when presenting a newborn grandchild, were occasions for much celebration.

Agamani, Lithograph, printed in black and hand-coloring with watercolor and selectively applied glaze, West Bengal, Calcutta

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.