Durga copper plate with mystic designArtist(s)IndianArtist NationalityIndian (South Asian)Object Creation Date18th century - 20th centuryMedium & SupportcopperDimensions
10 3/16 in x 8 3/4 in (25.8 cm x 22.2 cm);10 3/16 in x 8 3/4 in (25.8 cm x 22.2 cm)Credit LineGift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. Figiel.Label copy
March 28, 2009
Despite Durga’s militant appearance, this yantra, or mystical diagram, offers its beholder a fierce and maternal protection: elements of love, care, and nourishment are present alongside her martial strength. Her weapons, given to her by the male deities to kill demons that they could not subdue, represent the embodied energies, or shaktis, of those gods, which are here combined in the goddess. Most often, images of Durga emphasize that extraordinary energy: one famous icon represents the goddess dancing upon the inert form of her consort Shiva. This copper plate shows a six-armed Durga in a less ecstatic mode, yet her force is palpable as she parades confidently on her tiger mount.
(Label for UMMA South and Southeast Asia Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)Subject matter
Labeled as Durga, an umbrella title or classification for Goddess images, she is probably more aptly titled as Mujunidevi in Kulu, the place where this was mostly likely produced. But the iconography is pan-Indian as the name Durga is fully descriptive. Consistently the goddess rides on a tiger or lion, often apparently a combination of both felines, and carries weapons with which to kill demons. The Goddess was produced to kill demons that the gods could not kill and it was only a creation of the Goddess out of their combined powers that the demons were quelled. Here weapons of a variety of the Gods are present suggesting that collective power. Despite Durga’s militant appearance, this yantra, or mystical diagram offers its beholder a fierce and maternal protection. Elements of love, care, and nourishment are very much present alongside her martial strength. .Durga bears the weapons given to her by the male deities to kill demons that they could not subdue. The weapons represent the embodied energies, or shaktis of the individual gods, which are combined in the goddess. Most often, images of her emphasize that extraordinary energy: one famous icon represents the goddess dancing upon the inert prostrate form of her consort Shiva. This copper plate shows a six-armed Durga in a less ecstatic mode, yet her force is palpable as she parades confidently on her tiger mount. Devotion to the goddess may be less idealized, less gentle than devotion to the gods, but there is the same immediacy and intimacy about it.Physical Description
A ten-armed figure sits with her legs tucked under her on a tiger with a long uplifted tail. The figure is incised onto the copper plate with a chisel. One set of arms are crossed across her chest, while all but six hands hold weapons. A crossed spear and trident form an X behind the figure. She has wide bracelets at each of her wrists and wears elaborate circular earrings and nose ring with a three partite crown. Two lines in devanagari script are above the figure.Primary Object Classification Ritual Object Primary Object TypefigureAdditional Object Classification(s)MetalworkCollection AreaAsianRights
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