SCULPTURES OF THE GODDESS MAHIṢĀSURAMARDINĪ OF EARLY NORTH BENGAL: AN ICONOGRAPHIC SURVEY
Dr. Rajeswar Roy
Assistant Professor, Department of History
M.U.C. Women’s College,
Rajbati, Purba-Bardhaman-713104, West Bengal
Abstract:The images of various sculptures of the goddess Mahiṣāsuramardinī as terrible aspects of the mother goddess (as icons of Śakti) have been discovered from various parts of North Bengal during the early medieval period. Different types of sculptural forms of the goddess Mahiṣāsuramardinī are generally seen in ālīḍha and pratyālīḍha pose. The goddess is always adorned, three-eyed, wearing the jaṭāmukuṭa (crown) and she is described as a handsome youthful woman. She has pretty eyes; well-developed bosoms and her complexion are like that of Atasi flower. She shows a great pleasure of defeating the enemy of the gods. Images of the goddess Mahiṣāsuramardinī generally seen with two, four, six, eight , ten , twelve and eighteen even thirty two hands, killing the demon buffalo in ardhaniskranta form or zoomorphic form or sometimes in human form. The artists of Bengal skillfully represent the images of the goddess Mahiṣāsuramardinī or Mahiṣamardinī as sakti cult. These artistic activities are considered as valuable resources in Bengal as well as in the entire world.
Key Words:ālīḍha pose, demon, Mahiṣāsura, Mahiṣāsuramardinī, pratyālīḍha pose, śakti cult..