Goddess Durga as Mahishasur-Mardini Patachitra Painting


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The merciless Durga brings the great Mahishasura to His knees. Her simhavahana (lion-mount) has him between its teeth, while the dashabhujadharini (the one possessed of ten arms) push Him down with her feet and drives the spear end of Her trishoola (trident) into Him. Helplessly, the proud Mahishasura looks up at the feminine victor.

Durga as Mahishasur-Mardini Patachitra Painting
Durga as Mahishasur-Mardini Patachitra Painting

The work of art that you see on this page is a Durga pattachitra painting Mahishasuramardini from Orissa. ‘Mardini’ is the Sanskrit word for slayeress, while the prefix ‘Mahisha’ means buffalo. This Roopa (form) of the Devi is deeply worshipped in the Eastern Delta region, of which pattachitra painting is a traditional folk art form.

The sheer level of detail in this pattachitra makes this a collector’s item: from the embroidery of Mahishasuramardini’s saree to the minuscule motifs across the background. A superbly detailed temple entrance structure, complete with pillars and archway, and a temple top, frame the central ensemble. A powerful, lifelike composure characterizes each countenance in this painting.

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