Mahishasuramardhini (Tribal)

Folk and Tribal Vigrahas are always special. Even more so when they are well made and here is an example.

Four armed Mardhini is holding Trishul, Drum and another Trishul (a short one) in her hands. She is pulling Mahisha out of the buffalo body with her lower left hand. Mardhini is standing on the buffalo’s body. Severed buffalo’s head is on the pedestal.

Normally Mardhini is shown with the sword used to severe the buffalo’s head. But as is the case with Indian iconography, for every rule there is an exception.

This Vigraha is hand-crafted and the fabrication of this Vigraha seems to have adopted a combination of techniques. Features to note include perforated prabhavali, applied patterns, bulging eyes, Kalasa as the finial for prabhavali, Sun and Moon symbols on the prabhavali.

Though the classical Mahishasuramardhini is shown with Saivite attributes (drum/trishul) and/or Vaishnavite attributes (Shankha/Chakra), the tribal ones are invariably shown with Saivite attributes. Something to think about.

This Vigraha is about 9 cm in height and may be about 100-150 years old. It is, most likely, from Central India.

Mahishasuramardhini is one of the few deities depicted in Tribal, Folk and Nagara (City) styles.

PS: This Vigraha came in a lot and I was planning to sell it. Sometimes, they grow on you.

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