Victorious Durga, The Buffalo Slayer
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"A sculpture of Durga has recently been acquired by the University of Missouri-Columbia, one that exemplifies an icon type of great antiquity and importance in Tamilnadu in South India. Standing with both feet firmly planted in the samapada pose reserved for sovereign deities, the female warrior is said to embody the collective fiery substance (tejas or shakti) of the entire Hindu pantheon as externalized and directed against Mahisha -- "Buffalo," the prince of demons. Durga's autonomous character as denoted by this hieratic posture is in marked contrast with her alternative, perhaps better known, identity as the subservient Parvati, Shiva's quiescent wife. Insofar as the sculpture depicts her triumph as a fait accompli, it exemplifies what art historians have called the Victorious Durga type, one of four iconic variations on the theme of Mahishasuramardini, literally, Crusher-of-the-Buffalo-Demon."--Second paragraph.
Originally published in: Muse, 1986, volume 20, pages 50-65
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