Female power and its personifications hold an important place in Hindu devotional practices. The goddess figure represents the primordial female force—both in its creative and destructive aspects—underlying nature (prakriti) and power (shakti). As Devi (Great Goddess), divine female energy is worshiped under different names and visual forms. She may be the local village goddess, the powerful Durga, the frightening Kali, the benevolent Lakshmi or the devoted Sita. Goddesses are sometimes divinities worshiped in their own right or vital companions (consorts) of male gods such as Shiva, Vishnu and Krishna, in which role they provide essential support and counterbalance to the gods.
In this intimate display, 12 paintings from the museum’s collection focus on three aspects of female power: as devout worshipers; goddesses and consorts to male gods; and as ascetics (yoginis).
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