Mardini – Western India

Here Durga is slaying the asura (demon) Mahisha and hence the name, Mahishasuramardini. Mother Goddess Durga as Mardhini is a Pan-Indian deity.

Mardhini is plunging Trishul into the demon’s chest while yanking him out of the buffalo’s body. The severed head of the buffalo is on the front of the Peetha.  Her right leg is resting on her vahana, a lion, and her left leg is firmly planted on the Peetha. The rear hands are holding sword and shield.

Most of the four-armed Mardini Vigrahas you come across, from Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka, depict her with sword and shield. Mardini from Vaishnavite dominant region/period depict her with Shankha (Conch Shell) and Chakra (Wheel).

This bronze is most likely from the North Deccan area, that is going by her crown and the metal composition. Mardini is wearing a five-tiered Karanda-mukuta. The plain prabhavali is an unusual feature though. Regional attribution of Pan-Indian deity always pose a challenge, especially when their worship spans a long time. In this case, Mardini’s worship, as the protective Mother Goddess predates, possibly, all other idolized deities.

As usual Mardini’s ornaments is complete and it includes crown, earrings, arm and wrist bands, waist belt, anklet and Padasara. Mardini’s lower garment is calf-length, keeping with the combative scene. Durga’s alidhasana reinforces the combative scene.

This bronze is about 10 cm in height. This bronze may date to the nineteenth century.

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