Durga with Her Family.
India, state of West Bengal or Orissa, 17th-18th century. Bronze. Lent by Leo S. Figiel. M. D.

In eastern India, Durga, the slayer of the buffalo demon, is also visualized as Uma, the consort of Shiva. When the goddess visits her parents' home during Durga Puja, a ten-day fall festival especially popular in this region, she is accompanied by her children. In this bronze altar, the central figure of Durga slaying the buffalo demon is flanked by the goddesses Lakshmi and Sarasvati, envisioned in this region as Durga's daughters. Alongside are her sons, Kartikeya standing on his peacock and Ganesha seated on his rat. The griffin head given to Durga's lion is a regional characteristic.

In this large and complex tableau, each figure is cast individually by the lost-wax process. It juxtaposes Durga's two contradictory roles--the divine destroyer of the demon and the affectionate daughter and mother.

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Durga with Her Family.