Posted on: 8 February 2013

Bhavani, a fierce aspect of Parvati, is flanked by two attendant figures. The eight-armed goddess holds an associated attribute in each hand: in one she holds the head of the demon Mahishasura, in another a sword. She is the tutelary deity of the Maratha ruler Shivaji, to whom she is said to have once presented a sword. All three figures hold a trident, associating the image with Śiva-worship, as Parvati is Śiva's wife.

Gouache painting on paper
Rajasthan School

© Trustees of the British Museum

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Can any one explain the contrast in complexion of the two female attendants?

The 2 attendants represent shiv the auspicious and Bhairav the fierce one