A buff sandstone relief of the Mother Goddesses
A buff sandstone relief of the Mother Goddesses


A buff sandstone relief of the Mother Goddesses
India, Madhya Pradesh, 9th century
Depicting three dancing Mother Goddesses, the three-headed Brahmani on a lotus base at left, Parvati at center holding a trisula and a bell in her upper hands, and with Nandi beside her, and with Kaumari at right backed by her peacock vehicle, all three clad in diaphanous dhotis and adorned in simple jewelry, their faces with benevolent expressions and elaborate headdresses backed by halos carved with petal friezes in alternating designs
26¾ x 33½ in. (68 x 85 cm.)
Collection of Ariane Dandois, Paris, acquired between 1973-1975

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Lot Essay

The saptamatrikas, or "seven mothers," were created by Durga to harness the shakti of all female celestial beings to fight the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. The matrikas assisted Durga in her task, and after nine days of fighting, they defeated the demon and restored the heavens to the gods.
Each goddess can be recognized by at least one characteristic element borrowed from the god whose energy or power she represents: Brahmani at first, three-headed like Brahma; Parvati with Nandi and holding Shiva's attributes; Kaumari with the peacock. They are typically depicted in dancing poses; for another example, formerly in the Paul F. Walter Collection, see P. Pal, Indian Sculpture, vol. I, 1988, pp. 103-105, fig. 38.

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