DURGA MAHISHASURA MARDINI (Durga killing Asura Mahisha)

For those who love legends and mythology, the one about the ferocious fight between the goddess Durga and the demon Mahisha introduces an unusual conception about the relation among deities and demons (asura) in Hinduism. As a matter of fact, both in vedic religion and in Hindu one, the potentials are the same and same are the powers, as they originate from the same principle. But it is not so expected that demons would lose. Thus demon Mahisha obtains to become immortal through a series of penances and ritual sacrifices, except for the fact that a woman only could defeat him. So that Mahisha, feeling so strong, deriding the female genus, attacks the deities in order to take possession of the absolute power. As the balance between good and evil run the risk to being subverted, the gods create a new divine figure for fighting the evil: Durga, the invincible, insuperable warrior. Their clash is fierce because each time that Durga run him through with her weapons, Mahisha turns into a new animal. At the end, when Mahisha becomes a buffalo again and is knocked down by Durga again, just in the very moment in which Mahisha is turning him in another animal Durga beheads him, thus restoring the law in the world. That mythical moment is one of the most famous icon of Hindu art and mythology. And these statues are a good example of it.

1 – Maharashtra
19th century
H. 33 cm
Price on request

Fusion of three parts (base, figure of Durga, back halo) destined to an altar of a temple.

2 – Himachal Pradesh
13th – 15th century
H. 32 cm
Prov. John Eskenazi Gallery, London
Price on request

3 – Himachal Pradesh
16th – 17th century
H. 13 cm
Euro 1500 + shipment

4 – Orissa
18th – 19th -century
Bronze alloy
H. 12 cm
Euro 1200 + shipment

5 – Durga killing Mahisha
An extraordinary metal “fresco” showing Durga with eight arms while running Mahisha through. To the right is Ganesh, to the left,  probably Shiva/Kandhoba on horseback. All this lost wax processed in 10 cm by 7: fantastic!!!
Euro 1000 + shipment

6 – Durga with Mahisha
Himachal Pradesh
Chamba Valley
14th century or earleir
Patinated bronze
H. 12 cm
Euro 1800 + shipment

As “primitive” as a graffito, essential like an icon. Durga, rising upon the pierced buffalo, takes Mahisha by the head while he begs her forgiveness with joined hands. The universal order is restored, demons are defeated and the challenge between good and evil can start again.


When I started visiting India in the ‘70ies, I was fascinated by the almost infinite number of Hindu gods: each of them could have a different form and a different story. So I started to search for books that could tell their myths. By chance I found a series of comic-strips stories, very well illustrated, in which I learned the stories, in a superficial but very amusing way. Here you find one of those “mythical” comic-strip I hope will amuse you too.

Two female figures
India, Tamil Nadu
15th/17th century (?)
Bronze, hollow cast process
Cm. 40 e cm. 28
Price on request

Who are these threadlike, almost Giacometti style, which stand out with offers in the hands and glance against the sky? I admit that I don’t know for sure neither who they represent nor where and when they have been produced. They must come from the Tamil Nadu. Maybe they are local deities, as it often happens in the all-assimilating   Hinduism. They have echos of ancient classical bronzes. Probably they also come from the Pudukkotai zone, where unusual and mysterious statues have been made. If somebody among you knows all that, please let me know and I’ll be very grateful!


Even in the “super classic” art of Tamil Nadu, the famous region of the incomparable bronze statues of Chola period, we can find out some very different piece from the stylistic point of view that are very enchanting because of the particular imagination they show. They are small statues of donors and local deities, stylized, extended figures of popular taste but very intriguing for their spontaneous simplicity.

South India, Tamil Nadu
Pudukottai Area
Bronze, lost wax process
H. from cm. 16 to cm. 19

Two Warriors
cm 17 each
Euro 1800 + shipment ( the swordman)
Euro 1500 + shipment (the bowman)

cm 19
Euro 2000 +shipment

cm 16
Euro 1600 + shipment

Three figures
cm 15/16
Euro 1350 (each)+ shipment

Two figures
cm 15/16
Euro 2500 + shipment

Renzo Freschi
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