A Group of nine paintings from the Devi Mahatmya, Northern India, 19th century

Lot number

4

Estimated price

4500
6500

Description

A Group of nine paintings from the Devi Mahatmya, telling the story of the defeat of the demon, mahishasurya, by the goddess Durga; Northern India, (possibly Garwhal in the Punjab Hills), Pahari School, 19th century AD; each mounted in a modern frame.
The goddess Durga seated on the back of the tiger Simhadev, wearing a crown and red sari. Her four arms holding weapons given to her by the gods, a mace and chakra discus, and pulling back a bow to fire arrows. To the front the demon Mahishasura with horns to top of head, fangs to mouth and bird talon feet and tail. Depicted with dark blue skin wearing a red dhoti with white sash and green scarf over shoulder. In the left hand a oval shield and in the right a sword that has been broken by one of the arrows of Durga. Border of rosettes.
The goddess Durga seated on the back of the tiger Simhadev, wearing armour and a helmet with red sari beneath. In her eight hands a weapon including a shield, bow, conch shell, mace and sword, holding a cup of wine to the mouth. One hand holding a noose which is around the neck of Mahishasura in the form of a tiger. Floral border of rosettes.
The goddess Durga seated on the back of the tiger Simhadev, wearing a red sari and crown, holding a drawn bow, mace and sword in four hands; shield strapped to her back. To the front the demon Mahishasura in the form of an elephant with trunk wrapped around neck of tiger. Floral border of rosettes.
The goddess durga seated on the back of the tiger Simhadev, wearing a red sari and crown. Holding in her four hands a spear, shield, sword and mace. To the front the demon Mahishasura in the form of an elephant, spear piercing head, trunk severed by sword. Floral border of rosettes.
A pair of Yoginis (female manifestations of the power of Durga), one with a white dhoti holding a shield and sword, the other in a red dhoti holding a sword. To the front the demon Mahishasura in the form of a buffalo, head lowered and pawing at the ground ready to attack. Floral border of rosettes.
The goddess Durga seated on the tiger Simhadev, wearing a crown and red sari. Holding in her eight hands a sword, mace, drawn bow, arrows, shield and noose. The demon Mahisharura in the form of a buffalo standing in a River, head lowered and pawing the ground ready to attack. The background a hill with tree and bushes. Floral border of rosettes.
The goddess Durga seated on the tiger Simhadev, wearing armour and a helmet, red sari beneath. In her eight hands she holds a shield, arrows, bow, conch shell, sword, mace, noose and wine cup. To the front the demon Mahishasura in the form of a buffalo, head lowered and pawing the ground ready to attack. To the background a hill with Rocky outcrops. Floral border of rosettes.
The goddess Durga seated on the back of the tiger Simhadev, wearing a red sari and crown. In her eight hands a bow, mace, open lotus flower, shield, arrow, noose and sword. The noose around the neck of the demon mahishasura in the form of a large buffalo. Floral border of rosettes.
The goddess Durga seated on the back of the tiger Simhadev, wearing armour and a helmet with red sari beneath. In her four hands she holds a trident, sword, mace, shield, bow, arrows, noose and wine cup. With the trident she spears the demon Mahishasura in the form of a buffalo in the back, blood pouring down the side of the body. Floral border of rosettes.
For a similar set of paintings see The Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Devi Mahatmya was written in the 5th or 6th century AD and originally formed part of the Markandeya Purana, though now it is regarded as a separate work in itself. It is significant in that in glorifies the goddess as the supreme being and places her in the position of a saviour.
It is also significant in that it unifies all the different manifestations of the goddess under one form. The primary deities of the narrative are Durga and Kali, both fierce forms, though the maternal forms of the goddess are also present as Shri Devi and Ambika. The Devi Mahatmya is chiefly concerned with the goddess saving the universe from the forces of evil in the form of the demon Mahishasura who takes on many animal forms. The goddess achieves this in her form of Durga who is depicted riding a tiger into battle, brandishing weapons supplied by the gods.

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