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Brahmani, Vaishnavi, and Maheshvari

c. 1840-1850
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
These three Hindu goddesses are probably the energies (shaktis) of the three primary male gods, rather than their wives. On the left is Brahmani, energy of the multiheaded priest-god Brahma. She rides his gander and holds his holy water pot and ladle. At center is blue-skinned Vaishnavi riding Garuda, Vishnu’s bird-man mount. At right is Maheshvari, the energy of Shiva who is also known as Maheshvara (Great Lord). Like the god, her body is covered in white ash, and she wields a trident and rides a bull. The appropriate god appears at the upper left of each goddess.

Object Details

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