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Durga the buffalo-demon slayer
AK-RAK-1997-1
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

An ancient story from India relates how the demons once made a concerted effort to wrest power from the gods. The demon king, Mahisha, was so strong that the gods were unable to subdue him. So together they created a goddess: Durga the buffalo-demon slayer. In the ensuing fight between Durga and Mahisha, the demon king continually changed shape. When he changed into a buffalo, she delivered her deathblow. In a final, desperate attempt to escape, Mahisha changed into a stocky dwarf. This is the scene depicted here. Durga is standing triumphant over the dead buffalo. Mahisha is shown to one side, holding a dagger. Durga has eight arms, each hand holds an attribute.

History of the Object
The goddess Durga arrived in Indonesia along with the Hindu faith. This statue of Durga was made in East Java. The relief comes from a niche in the perimeter of a Shiva temple. This carving dates from the fourteenth or fifteenth century, the period in which the Mojohapit dynasty ruled. It was only in the Mojohapit period that Durga the buffalo-demon slayer was portrayed with bulging eyes and saber teeth. About her neck is a sacred thread with an array of skulls. Typical of Mojopahit art is the somewhat superficial, rigid depiction of physical attributes and the excessive jewelery. The brace-shaped finish to the back plate is also characteristic of Mojohapit art.

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
Andesite 
Measurements
h. 71,5 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Indonesia 
Geography
Indonesia 
Time period
AD 14th century ~ AD 15th century 
Creation date
14th Century -15th Century 
Function
A relief from a niche in the perimeter of a Shiva temple. 
Acquisition
Purchased 1997 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 
Museum
Rijksmuseum 
Credit line
 

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