Durga Kills Demons and Vishnu Sleeps on the Cosmic Ocean
From a dispersed series of the Durgapatha/ Chandipatha (the Devi Mahatmya section from the Markandeya Purana)
Artist/maker unknown, India
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This painting probably comes from a series of the Durgapatha, a retelling of the famous Devi Mahatmya section of the Markandeya Purana. On the left, the great goddess Durga poses like a dancer against a black sky. She wields a variety of weapons in her four arms as she coolly destroys two horned demons. On the right, the god Vishnu rests atop a serpent on the cosmic ocean (shown as a flat, square pool) as he dreams the world into being. The lotus growing from Vishnu's navel reveals the multiheaded god Brahma, who will do the actual work of creation. Brahma's vehicle, an oversized gander, looks on from the bulbous trees nearby. Although Durga is most associated with the god Shiva, in this painting Vishnu appears as the ultimate being.