Mahishasuramardini (Orissa)

Mardini - Bengal

This is ten-armed Mahishasuramardini ( The slayer of the demon Mahisha) portrayed in the act. This is a highly stylized bronze, see the lion and the protrusion in the corners of the pedestal.

Not all attributes in her hands are discernible. According to Dr S K Mahapatra in the book ‘Mahishasuramardini in Art, Iconography and Cult Practices‘, there are at least ten different texts prescribe her attributes. The attributes do overlap.  The general mythology as to how Mardini got the attributes may be found in another blog on this site.

Here Mahisha, who had taken the form of a Buffalo, is emerging out of the Buffalo’s bodMardini - Bengal backy after Mardini had severed the head. The buffalo head is lying between Mahisha and the lion, Mardini’s vahana. Mahisha is in the act of drawing his long sword to confront Mardini. The lion is attacking Mahisha, whereas Mardini is serenely looking towards her devotees.

The book ‘ Change and Continuity- Folk and Tribal art of India‘ has a similar example (Figure 200). Slightly more elaborate than the example here, as it has Karthikeya and Parvati as well.  That bronze is dated to the sixteenth century.

The idol, subject of this blog, is about 17 cm in height. It is from Orissa. This may date to the 17th or 18th century.

20 July 2019: The Mardhini below is in worship and has Mardhini Siddarthbeen for the last 500 years. It is from Orissa. Thanks to Siddarth for sharing it with us. Now we can be more certain regarding the geographic attribution of the subject of this blog.


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