This is Mahishasuramardhini. Durga in the act of of slaying (Mardini) the Asura (demon) Mahisha. This blog site has several example of this act, covering a wide geographical area and time. Every one of them is different but still the same.

What is special about this Vigraha? Normally in the Hindu Vigrahas tend to be two dimensional representation of three dimensional theme. They do not create their own space and they are like “cast paintings”.

But not this one. It is a stage and a theater.

Mahisha , the demon, is all set to fight drawing the sword from the sheath. But too late. Mardini’s trishul has found its mark. As if it is not enough, Mardini’s vahana, a lion, is joining the attack, having a go at Mahisha’s active arm.

Mardini is standing on her Vahana, the lion, and on Mahisha’s buffalo body. Mahisha emerges from the buffalo. Mardini is extending her arm and trishul to reach the target, Mahisha’s chest. The artist has used Mardini’s vahana and Mahisha’s buffalo body to create the depth.

This creation of three dimensional space, as if it is a stage, is quite unusual .

This vigraha is about 7.5 cm in height and its depth is 2.5 cm. Most likely from the Bengal region. Though worn it has kept its presence. This vigraha may be dated to the eighteenth century or earlier.

When I got this as a part of a lot, the intention was to sell it. One more Mardini. But the Vigraha grew on me, as you can see in the above narrative.


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