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Mahishamardini, Ravana Phadi Cave, Aihole

Mahishamardini, Ravana Phadi Cave, Aihole

Artist: Indian draftsman

Medium: Pen and ink on paper

Date: 1853

Shelfmark: WD1596

Item number: 13

Length: 71

Width: 57

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Pen-and-ink and wash drawing of a sculpture of Mahishamardini from the Ravana Phadi Cave at Aihole, by an Indian draftsman, dated 1853.

The main figure depicted in this drawing is the goddess Mahishamardini, slaying the buffalo-demon. This large sculpture panel is situated on the right wall in the antechamber to the shrine of the Ravana Phadi cave at Aihole, excavated in the late sixth century during the Chalukya period. The goddess is crushing under the weight of her left leg the buffalo-demon Mahisha. With the other left hand she holds the upraised head of the buffalo. She holds the trisula (trident) and the sword in two right hands. Another right hand holds a parrot and another a chakra. One left hand carries a conch, another a shield, another a bow and another is placed on the mouth of the demon. Her face shows her perfect composure and her youthful body is strong and vigorous. On the left of the goddess is her lion vehicle.

Aihole was one of the capitals and an important commercial centre of the Early Western Chalukya, a powerful dynasty which ruled the Deccan from the sixth century. Together with the two other capitals of Badami and Pattadakal, the site has preserved many Hindu and Jain temples which belong to a period that goes from the sixth to the 12th centuries, belonging to the Early and Late Chalukya periods and to the Rashtrakuta era.

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