Puri. Sculpture of one of the Saptamatrikas.April 28, 1815
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink drawing of a sculpture of one of the Saptamatrikas at Puri in Orissa, by an anonymous artist, part of the MacKenzie Collection and from an album of 37 drawings (43 folios) of sculpture at Jajpur, Puri, Bezwada and Sitanagar made during a journey from Bengal through Orissa to the Coromandel Coast, dated 28 April 1815.
Colin MacKenzie (1754-1821) joined the East India Company as an engineer at the age of 28 and spent the majority of his career in India. He used the salary he earned from his military career as a captain, major and finally a colonel to finance his research into the history and religion of Indian and Javan culture. During his surveys he collected and recorded details concerning every aspect of Indian history, architecture, language, life and religion, resulting in thousands of drawings and copies of inscriptions. This drawing is of one of the Saptamatrikas, the seven mothers of Hindu mythology. These seven goddesses are fierce forms of the goddess Durga, who is a symbol of the reproductive forces of nature and female fecundity worshipped in sakti cults. The seven mothers are usually depicted as the consorts of the major gods and their worship was widespread in Orissa between the 7th and the 11th centuries.