Lot 27
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Mysore Painting
Late 19th Century


Size: 23 x 19 in (58.4 x 48.3 cm)

The Mysore School in Karnataka ran parallel to the Tanjore School in Tamil Nadu. While the Tanjore artists worked on wood with embossed gold and stones, their counterparts in Mysore worked on paper using a different colour palette.

Mahishasuramardini is the aspect of Durga as the slayer of the terrible demon, Mahisha. The Gods were in a great dilemma as they were facing unending trouble from the demons. One of them, Mahisha, a buffalo, became so powerful that he defeated the Gods and established himself in heaven. The Gods wandered forlornly about the world, until they were advised by Vishnu and Shiva to concentrate their powers to form a jet of fire. From this fire emerged Durga, armed with numerous weapons. She is all powerful and possesses a lion as her vahana or vehicle.

In this painting the powerful figure of Durga can be seen poised gracefully on her vahana. She pierces the powerful trident of Shiva into the body of Mahisha. There is a look of triumph on the face of Durga who is portrayed with eight arms, each holding a powerful weapon given to her by the Gods. The attributes that can be identified in her hands to the left, are a 'shankha', a shield and a bow, and on her right side she holds an arrow, a khadaga or a short sword and Vishnu's chakra. Shiva's trident is in her upper right hand.

Durga is crowned with the crescent moon. She wears a beautiful red brocade sari with extensive gold. The ferocious lion takes hold of the Asura's head in its mouth. The Asura is shown holding a curved sword and a shield in his hands. Durga finally severs the head of the buffalo that is seen to the right and Mahishasura grimaces in agony. The battle scene is a meadow with green grass and lovely colourful flowers in bloom. The sky is a combination of ash gray and blue.

Mahishasuramardini is a popular subject in ancient Indian art, but is rarely seen in Mysore paintings. The work is very striking due to its vibrancy. Copious use of gold, brilliant colours and wonderful expressions add to the beauty of this work.

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  Lot 27 of 55  

25-26 APRIL 2012

$4,000 - 6,000



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