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Read about the exhibit

This painting was chosen
69%
of the time over other paintings.

Participants offered 161 unique terms to describe this painting! See them all

Caption: Mahasura Attacks the Devi Page from an illustrated manuscript of the Devi Mahatmya Northern India (Punjab Hills, Guler), ca. 1770-1780 Opaque watercolor on paper Overall: 7 7/8 x 11 5/8 in. (20.0 x 29.5 cm) Brooklyn Museum. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Poster, 85.220.2

Label: This painting comes from a series illustrating the Devi Mahatmya, a text celebrating the deeds of the goddess Durga. In Hindu tradition, the greatest warrior deities are goddesses. Some of the warrior goddesses are beautiful, and others are hideous and frightening, but all are very strong and celibate. The goddess Durga was created specifically for the purpose of fighting demons; each of the male gods gave her one aspect of his power. She is usually shown with multiple arms—each of them holding a weapon donated by a male god—riding on a ferocious lion or tiger. She is lovely, but she uses her beauty to disarm her demon enemies, some of whom become smitten with her.

This painting shows a pivotal battle between Durga and a powerful demon named Mahasura. The demon, with an animal head and purple skin, appears three times, attacking the goddess with bow and arrow, sword and shield, and trident (this weapon is shown snapped in two, a sign that he will eventually lose). This repetition of the figure suggests that he exerted enormous energy in attempting to assault the goddess from every direction, while her single figure indicates that she barely needed to move to gain the upper hand.

Biggest Reactions

These groups differed the most from the average rating

25-34 y.o. women with "no experience" 45-54 y.o. women with "some experience" 18-24 y.o. women with "more than a little experience" 35-44 y.o. women with "more than a little experience" 45-54 y.o. women with "more than a little experience"
Liked this painting:  
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Preferred others:
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Experience

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* We have low confidence in this metric because relatively few people in this group (less than 50) rated this object.

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