And were these images without any traditional Hindu or Buddhist attributes once acolytes around a central Mahadevi Durga Mahishasuramardini
, the Great Mother, or mythical yakshas and yakshis, intermediaries between the divine and the human, associated with local field and forest deities, rural and vegetal fertility forces, which can appear in many different forms?
On the right is the bottom fragment of a Durga Mahishasuramardini
. FROM M.
The temple is dedicated to a metal idol of Durga as Mahishasuramardini
. An inscription on its pedestal dates the idol to the 16th century, when the temple was probably subject to some sort of renovation.
The images used in all pandals conventionally have been the dramatic cognate of Mahishasuramardini
, Durga in the act of slaying the demon king Mahisha.
Among those included in the exhibition are a metal mask of Devi (mohra), a typical example of the art of Himachal Pradesh, an elegant bronze sculpture from the south depicting Parvati in a sinuous pose and several stone and bronze sculptures in which the Devi appears in the iconography of Mahishasuramardini
, the most often depicted of the goddess's mythical feats.
of Gajantaka in atibhanga (a vigorous dancing posture) or of Mahishasuramardini
Durga, she appreciates the master-craftsman who must have been an artist par excellence.
The buffalo-head that is sometimes used as a pedestal for these goddesses is commonly interpreted as linking these Pallava-period deities with Mahishasuramardini
, the One Who Slays the Buffalo-demon, known through the Devimahatmya (6th--8th centuries), in a myth frequently illustrated in northern and central India.