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Hindu Goddesses
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Hindu Goddesses

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description These three goddesses powerfully embody "shakti," the divine feminine energy that activates the cosmos, according to many traditions of Hindu thought. The central goddess, with a pyramid of animal heads, is an esoteric form of Kali, squatting on a jackal and dominating over a prostrate Bhairava, an angry form of the god Shiva. On the left is another form of the dark blue Kali, standing atop a male corpse. To the right is Durga, vanquishing the buffalo demon with the help of her lion. Below each goddess is a "yantra," a sacred diagram that functions as a tool to focus the mind during meditation. In Hindu Tantra, each goddess is associated with a specific yantra that serves as her geometric representation. Devotees worship a goddess both in her figural form and as her yantra. The clothing that these devotees wear marks them as members of Nepali royalty.
  • Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Nepal, and Tibet in the John and Berthe Ford Collection. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong. 2001-2003.
  • Goddess Divine Energy. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. 2006-2007.
Provenance Mr. Tsarong, Washington, D.C. [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore, July 1980, by purchase.
Credit Promised gift of John and Berthe Ford

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ca. 1800
opaque watercolor on cotton
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Framed H: 38 7/8 × W: 35 13/16 × D: 2 11/16 in. (98.8 × 91 × 6.8 cm)
  • Nepal (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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