Figure of Durga carved onto a stone tablet. ‘As Sculptured on a Stone 3 feet high at Sirwalla. May 5th 1801.’
Watercolour drawing dated 5 May 1801, of a figure of Durga carved on a stone tablet at Siruvolal (?) in Karnataka, from an Album of 56 sheets of drawings (60 folios) mainly of miscellaneous architecture and sculpture in the Deccan and S. India, dated 1793-1806 from the Mackenzie Collection.
Durga is one of the many names of the goddess and a manifestation of Shiva's consort and has two aspects: one is merciful and benevolent and the other is ferocious and punishing. She is said to have been created by the gods to kill the buffalo-demon Mahisasura who had usurped their position. She is represented in this drawing standing with her vehicle the lion.
Colin Mackenzie (1754-1821) was the first Surveyor General of India. Originally from Scotland, he came to India in 1782 as a member of the Madras Engineers. He took part in numerous map surveys, mainly in Southern India, before he was appointed to the post of Surveyor General in 1815. During his surveys in South India he collected and recorded innumerable details concerning every aspect of South Indian history, language, life and religion, resulting in possibly as many as 2,000 drawings and over 8,000 copies of inscriptions.