The Slayer of Mahishasur from Mahamallapuram- Durga Mahishasurmardini

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For the artist, their surroundings are the biggest muse. Taking inspiration from the Pallava period Mahabalipuram Mahishasurmardini panel, the local artists have recreated the victory of the slayer of the demon king Mahishasur, goddess Durga. The brilliant 7th-century rock-cut art is presented here in Katappa or Kadappa stone, giving a sharper view of what happened when the demons faced the great goddess. 

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Item Code: ZEP441
Specifications:
KATAPPA STONE STATUE (CRAFTED IN MAHABALIPURAM
Height: 9.3 inch
Width: 12 inch
Depth: 1 inch
Weight: 4.17 kg


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On the panel’s left side is the army of the buffalo-headed demon Mahishasur, led by the demon-king himself, wearing a horned crown, dhoti, and ornaments. He has a club in hand, holding on to it and standing in a passive posture, appearing to be running away from the battlefield. The attitude of their king is shared by his army men, one of whom has fallen on the ground, visible between Mahishasur’s legs, two of the soldiers turning their backs on their king, while a third one tiredly sits on the ground. The right side of the panel, where Devi Durga is seen with her army is much more assured and attacking in the attitude it emits. The Ashtabhujadharini (eight-armed) goddess is riding a prancing lion, whose coiled mane and jaw are designed in the characteristically Pallava manner. Holding various weapons, Devi has just shot an arrow, hinted by the absence of the arrow on the bow and the placement of her hand near her ear, signifying that it was just used to fire the weapon. Dwarf figures, probably Durga’s Ganas surround her, playing their assigned role in vanquishing the army of the demon. The great goddess wears an imposing jatamukut, jewelled kuchabandha (breast band) and other ornaments, and a short dhoti. Another female is visible near Devi’s lion with a sword in her hand, identified by noted art historian Srinivasan as Jaya, Devi’s yogini. A male figure just above Jaya’s sword is one of the slain soldiers of Mahishasur, fallen on the ground. Both the demon king and the Devi are flanked by Chattra (umbrella), a symbol of their regal status in their respective realms. The white colour used in outlining has brought out the animation intrinsic to this battle scene, letting the onlooker experience the vigour and atmosphere of the moment when Durga became Mahishasurmardini. 

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