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. The 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 maybe 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.

9 Feb 2022: The message received from Nikhil Lotlikar.

“Similar to this vigraha, my family worships similar vigraha for 200+ years. At our relatives home in Vasco Da Gama. This Vigraha was brought from Tuljapur and we worship her as Tulja Bhavani which is also Mahishasur Mardini. Thought of sharing the pic with you.”

Retained part of the Alankar to give a sense as to how the deities are worshipped.

Sharing my passion

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