ASHTAMATRIKAS or a group of eight mothers are the female counterparts or shaktis of the corresponding gods. As stated in the Devi Mahatmya, the demon Mahisha had acquired a boon from Brahma that he could only be killed by a woman. He started terrorising the gods who requested Durga to come to their rescue and destroy the demon. All the gods transferred their own shaktis to Durga to strengthen her. These energies or shaktis were identified as emanations of the goddess Durga and could be reabsorbed into her body
at will.
The present image shows the deity seated in lalitasana. Her right foot is resting on a small lotus-shaped footrest. This four-armed goddess is holding a kapala, khadg and gada. Her natural left hand is in the abhaya mudra. The position of thumb and third finger suggests a rosary held in her hand.
She wears a dhoti with floral designs and leaf-patterned border. The upper garment covering her full breasts passes over the left shoulder and elegantly falls behind her. Represented as a young and slim woman of enchanting beauty, she wears a necklace, urahsutra, chakra-kundalas, armlet and anklets. Most of them are studded with semiprecious stones, showing a north-east Indian influence on the early Malla bronzes. She is wearing a three-pointed crown with fan-like side projections, generally seen in the Pala bronzes.
A very interesting feature of this bronze is the hairstyle. Her hair is tied into a big bun decorated with seven strings of pearls. This type of hairstyle is frequently shown in the art of Ajanta, Ellora and Aurangabad of the Vakataka and post-Vakataka phase.


Himalayan Art

Object Type



Gilt Bronze






14th century CE




18.5 x 12.5 x 13.5 cms.