The Goddess and the Messenger

The demon Shumbha sends a messenger to the great goddess Devi asking her to become his wife. The Sanskrit text of the Devimahatmya (ca. 6th century), written on the back of the leaf, includes the goddess’s reply: He who conquers me in battle, removes my pride and is my match in strength in the world shall be my husband. So let Shumbha come here. . . . Vanquishing me here, let him soon take my hand in marriage. Why delay? At the far right, the messenger is depicted a second time, on his way back to Shumbha, to whom he will report the goddess’s response.

Pigments on paper


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Walters Art Museum

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