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Work of the Week: Goddess Durga Slaying the Buffalo Demon (Mahishasuramardini)

Girl power! This multi-armed figure represents the fierce Hindu goddess Durga, whose name means "the invincible." The wicked demon Mahishasura had unleashed a reign of terror, and none of the gods could defeat him as Brahma had rendered Mahishasura impervious to destruction at the hands of a male. Shiva, Vishnu, and all the male gods combined their energy into one force, from which the goddess Durga emerged. The overconfident Mahishasura took the form of a buffalo and attacked Durga. As the female warrior aspect of the supreme godhead, Durga was not subject to Mahishasura's power and cut off his head with her sword. This figure of the goddess holds in her hands various weapons bestowed upon her from the gods as her fractured sword pierces the vanquished buffalo demon Mahishasura below. Below her feet also stands her lion companion and mount.

Find this sculpture of the Goddess Durga in Gallery 142.