Vaishnavi (Odisha)

This is Vaishnavi, one of the Saptamatrikas and some consider her to be the Sakthi part of Vishnu.

Here Vaishnavi is four-armed and is identified by the attributes in her upper hands Chakra (wheel) and Shankh (Conch shell). Vaishnavi’s lower hands are in Varada (boon bestowing) and Abhaya (protection) mudras.

Vaishnavi is sitting in Laltasana, with her right leg pendant and left leg folded. Her vahana is tucked under her folded left leg. The vahana is not discernible and I think it is a snake. Not the usual vahana (Garuda) of Vaishnavi.

The half dome-shaped peetha is an unusual feature and so are the decorations on the dome and the ridges on the prabhavali.

Other noteworthy features are the beading of the rim of the peetha and the flame-like decoration along the edges of the prabhavali. Both these features suggest this Vigraha is from Odisha.

Though Saptamatrikas are supposed to be ferocious in nature, some of their depictions, like this one, show them as benevolent and peaceful.

This Vigraha is from Odisha and is about 10 cm in height. Going by the wear this may be dated to the eighteenth century or earlier.

Note on identification: Quite often this deity is identified as Durga, especially in South India. I identify her as Durga only when Lion accompanies her as vahana. Of course, some of the depictions, especially from Tamil Nadu, show Durga standing on the severed head of a buffalo.

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