Creator: Artist Unknown, India, Tamil Nandu, Kanchipuran
Date Created: India, Cola Period (ca 850-1310)
Location: Tamil Nadu, India
Physical Dimensions: w53.3 x h71.4 x d33.02 mm (work)
Label Copy: Indian deities are complex: the forms they take are many and, at times, seemingly contradictory. On one level, the gods are believed to be beyond human comprehension. Yet images draw the varied aspects of a divine power into a coherent whole - a single physical body composed of human, animal, and superhuman features. Varahi, one of the Hindu pantheon's Seven Mothers, was created from the shakti, or embodied energy of Varaha, in order to subdue demons. Like Varaha, she is boar headed, and her rear hands would have held his signature weapons. However, protective powers are expressed in purely maternal terms here. She has taut, youthful flesh and full breasts, signifying fecundity, while the gentle tilt of her head suggests motherly affection. Her crossed legs form a cradle, offering a tender sanctuary.