The Goddess Durga Killing the Buffalo Demon (Mahishasura Mardini)

Period: Pala period

Date: 12th century

Culture: Bangladesh or India

Medium: Argillite

Dimensions: H. 5 5/16 in. (13.5 cm); W. 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm); D. 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Diana L. and Arthur G. Altschul Gift, 1993

Accession Number: 1993.7


This sculpture portrays the sixteen-armed form of the goddess Durga as the slayer of the buffalo demon Mahisha. The array of arms, each displaying a weapon, creates a kinetic energy in the image, no doubt all the more powerful when contemplated in a shrine dimly illuminated by oil lamps. This work is among the finest Indian miniature culptures of the Pala-Sena period.