Exhibitions/ Art Object

Mother Goddess (Matrika)

Post-Gupta period
mid- 6th century
India (Rajasthan, Tanesara)
Gray schist
H. 24 1/2 in. (62.2 cm); W. 9 in. (22.9 cm); D. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving, 1993
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 236
This figure is one of a group of seven mother goddesses that sprang from an associated Hindu male god. Despite their alluring beauty, these matrikas represent dangerous and malevolent forces—the devourers of children and bearers of sickness and disease. Although they were integral to early temple iconographic schema, as seen at sixth-century Aihole, their power was so threatening that they were soon marginalized, consigned to dedicated shrines beyond city boundaries. The combined power of the matrikas is understood to be embodied in the mother goddess par excellence, Durga.
Christian Humann , New York (by 1977 until d. 1981, estate sale by Ellsworth to Irvings); [ R. H. Ellsworth Ltd. , New York, 1982, sold to the Irvings in 1986] ; Florence and Herbert Irving , New York (1986 until 1993; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Pala-Sena Period," 2007.

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

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