Central India, ca. 12th century Bronze Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Eilenberg (66.153) Height: 17.6 cm Additional images may be viewed in Argus

Central India, ca. 12th century
Bronze
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Eilenberg (66.153)
Height: 17.6 cm
Additional images may be viewed in Argus

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.

Connections

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