Durga Killing the Buffalo Demon

Durga Killing the Buffalo Demon
Central India, ca. 12th century
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Eilenberg
Height: 17.6 cm

Guiding Questions
What kind of powers do you think this goddess has?

How can you tell?

How do you think worshippers might have used this small statue of a goddess?

About the Art
Durga is a Hindu goddess who was formed from a combination of many of the Hindu gods’ attributes so that she could slay a powerful buffalo demon, Mahisha. She is shown here with ten arms, each holding an attribute of a different god, and she thrusts her trident into the demon who appears in the shape of a man here. Durga’s victory over the demon symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. She is accompanied by a lion who symbolizes her power and determination. 

Small statuettes like this one were probably kept in worshippers’ homes, and this one’s facial features and other details have been rubbed smooth from years of being held.

Compare and contrast with the Model Shrine. Both were used to worship female goddess in people’s homes. How are they different?

Read the story of Durga’s battle with Mahisha here: http://www.balagokulam.org/kids/stories/durga.php How does this small sculpture tell the story?

Additional Resources
South Asian Art and Sculpture, Metropolitan Museum of Art: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/sasa/hd_sasa.htm

Hinduism and Hindu Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/hind/hd_hind.htm

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"I still remember the feeling of awe and disbelief when I was alone and walked in the room with those casts." --Ruth Tofle, chair of architecture, winner of the 2013 distinguished faculty award from the MU Alumni Association