Skip Navigation

The Goddess Matangi

Asian Art

In this painting, the many-armed goddess Durga rides in the center on her tiger, while her even fiercer incarnation, Matangi, is shown at the upper left holding a severed head and a sword. Along with Kali, they are among the ten fearsome forms of female divinity known as Mahavidyas. By picturing overlapping avatars, paintings such as this one indicate the fluid interrelation of a variety of goddess forms. This plurality also allows various social groups to identify with female divinity through their preferred avatar. For example, Matangi, a marginal figure in the pantheon, has often been associated with worship among lower castes.

—CG
CULTURE Indian
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
DATES ca. 1760
DIMENSIONS sheet: 11 1/4 x 16 1/2 in. (28.6 x 41.9 cm) image: 10 1/2 x 15 7/8 in. (26.7 x 40.3 cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS Recto, at top, in Braj, in black ink, in Devanagari script: The fair, two-armed form of Sri Matangi ji. In one hand, the head of Mahesha, in [the other] hand, Mahesha's sword...(You are) blazing on your subjects, who bow to you. (Trans. S. Mitra); left, over image of goddess, in blace ink, in Devanagari script: Matangi.
COLLECTIONS Asian Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 84.201.9
CREDIT LINE Anonymous gift
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement. You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact reproductions@brooklynmuseum.org (charges apply). The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
CAPTION Indian. The Goddess Matangi, ca. 1760. Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper, sheet: 11 1/4 x 16 1/2 in. (28.6 x 41.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Anonymous gift, 84.201.9 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 84.201.9_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 84.201.9_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RECORD COMPLETENESS
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.