Durga slaying the Buffalo Demon

Historical period(s)
Central Javanese Period, 9th century
H x W x D: 54.5 × 25.4 × 17 cm (21 7/16 × 10 × 6 11/16 in)
Indonesia, Java
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Sculpture, Stone

Hindu sculpture

Central Javanese period (600 - 799), chakra, death, demon, Durga, halo, Indonesia, Java, water buffalo

To 1914
D. Komter, Amsterdam, to 1914 [1]

From 1914 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from D. Komter in 1914 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Miscellaneous List, S.I. 520, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

D. Komter (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


This image represents a heroic moment for the goddess. Although she has conquered the demon Mahisha, her face appears calm and her lips form the suggestion of a smile. Her chin is tilted upwards and she gazes forwards through almond-shaped eyes. Durga was created from the combined energy of the three most powerful Hindu gods--Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu--in order to defeat a demon that was plaguing the universe. In this image, Durga is called Mahishasuramardini, which means "She who conquered the demon named Mahisha." Like Durga, the demon also could transform himself. In order to escape the goddess, he took the form of a buffalo. Durga saw right through this petty disguise and caught him. Here, she is shown having slain the buffalo and holding the anthropomorphic form of Mahisha by the hair in her lower left hand. In her lower right she holds the buffalo's limp tail. In her upper two hands she holds the attributes of Vishnu, the conch shell and chakra. Durga's sublime face shows a continued tranquility even in times of danger and destruction.

Published References
  • Aschwin Lippe. The Freer Indian Sculptures. Oriental Studies Series, no. 8 Washington, 1970. pl. 21.
Collection Area(s)
Southeast Asian Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
F|S Southeast Asia
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum