The Indian Museum will celebrate Durga Puja with an exhibition titled Durga: The Divine Power. The opening date is yet to be decided.
The museum, which is under the Union culture ministry, will display its collection of statues, paintings, coins and other artefacts that will trace the evolution of Durga’s iconography.
The exhibition will also celebrate the inclusion of Durga Puja of Kolkata on the Unesco’s list of intangible heritage of humanity.
“This Durga Puja, when the world will experience the latest edition of the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity catalogue, the Indian Museum will celebrate the evolution of Devi Durga, from a divine mother to a warrior goddess.... The exhibition will showcase the development of the tradition of worshiping female principles representing fertility, motherhood and creation as the embodiment of earth; which has evolved into the worship of Devi Durga in the form of matrirupena and shaktirupena...,” said Sayan Bhattacharya, education officer, Indian Museum.
Among the exhibits are antiquities like a sandstone Mahishamardini image from the first century CE (Common Era) from Bhita, Allahabad, and a terracotta Mahishamardini image from the second to third century CE from Mathura.
A marble headless Mahishashuramardini, from the 11th-12th century CE, from Varanasi and a stone 12th century CE Mahishashuramardini from Mukhed village in Hyderabad will show the evolution of the Durga iconography.
An octo-alloy 19th century statue will also be at the exhibition. A Kalighat patachitra of Annapurna offering alms to Shiva, Abanindranath Tagore’s Ganesh Janani and a chromolithograph from The Calcutta Art Studio of an ekchala Durga flanked by her children from 20th century will make up the visual iconography of Durga.
A pahari painting from 18th century of Durga with 18 hands will be an interesting exhibit.
It shows Indra paying homage to Durga and other gods offering water and standing with folded hands.
The exhibition will present the imagery and iconography of the deity from antiquity to the present that had proliferated throughout South Asia and beyond.