AN ILLUSTRATION FROM A DEVI MAHATMYA SERIES: THE GODS PAYING HOMAGE TO DEVI
AN ILLUSTRATION FROM A DEVI MAHATMYA SERIES: THE GODS PAYING HOMAGE TO DEVI
AN ILLUSTRATION FROM A DEVI MAHATMYA SERIES: THE GODS PAYING HOMAGE TO DEVI
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AN ILLUSTRATION FROM A DEVI MAHATMYA SERIES: THE GODS PAYING HOMAGE TO DEVI

INDIA, PUNJAB HILLS, GULER, CIRCA 1840-50

Details
AN ILLUSTRATION FROM A DEVI MAHATMYA SERIES: THE GODS PAYING HOMAGE TO DEVI
INDIA, PUNJAB HILLS, GULER, CIRCA 1840-50
image 7 x 10 ¼ in. (17.8 x 26 cm.)
folio 9 7/8 x 13 in. (25.1 x 33 cm.)
Provenance
Collection of the Marquess of Tweddale.
Sotheby's New York, 16 & 17 September 1998, lot 561.

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Lot Essay

The present painting comes from a series on the Devi Mahatmya, is the fourth and penultimate part of the Markandeya Purana. The Devi Mahatmya interrupts the discourse between the sage Markandeya and his disciple Kraustiki. It consists of three stories that take place amidst a long battle between gods and demons. In the first, Devi (known by various names including Durga, Kaushiki, Ambika, Kali and Shakti) defeats Madhu and Kaitabha; in the second she kills Mahishasura and in the third, she returns to destroy the twin demons Shumbha and Nishumbha. Written between the fifth and ninth centuries, this text led to the dramatic transformation of the female principle into a great goddess of cosmic powers.
This striking scene depicts a delegation of the gods worshiping Devi in her various forms: Kali, Kaumari, Narasimhi, Bhairavi, Varahi, Maheshvari, Brahmani, Lakshmi and Indrani. The gods had invoked the Great Goddess Devi to destroy Mahisasura, who had unseated the gods from their heavenly abode. The vibrant hues, in particular the bright orange sky and green ground are indicative of a later school within the Guler tradition. The painting otherwise closely follows earlier Kangra and Guler paintings of the subject, stylistically and in quality.

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