The Goddess Durga as Slayer of the Buffalo-Demon Mahisha (Mahishasuramardini), 14th–15th century
Gilt copper alloy, inlaid with semiprecious stones
This is one of the finest Nepali depictions of Durga known. The eighteen-armed Hindu goddess Durga, an aspect of the Great Goddess Devi, is depicted in the act of slaying the demon Mahisha. After the gods had been defeated in battle by the all-powerful Mahisha, they created Durga to serve as their champion and turned over to her their weapons. With the force of the collective might transferred by the gods to her, Durga slays the demon, who had transformed himself into a ferocious buffalo. Originally, this Durga was part of a larger ensemble. She stood on the back of the buffalo-demon, supported on a pedestal.
Source: Goddess Durga as Slayer of the Buffalo-Demon Mahisha (Mahishasuramardini), The [Nepal] (1986.498) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A new online role-playing game by Magma Studios has been released, situating players in a virtual recreation of 14th-century Temasek, a city on the island that would become Singapore.
From the Magma Studios website:
“Singaporeans are generally of the opinion that Singapore has a brief and relatively uninteresting history,” said Creative Director Chris Jones. “Nothing could be further from the truth. In the fourteenth century Singapore was a kingdom that thrived on trade, just like today, with a harmonious racial mix. But the people of Temasek also faced great dangers from thousands of pirates, hundreds of man-eating tigers and Siamese and Javanese invaders. By working these exciting historical dynamics into the game play, World of Temasek will entertain young Singaporeans, as well as educate them about their rich multiethnic and dynamic history, and foster a greater sense of belonging to their nation.”
While technology has surged the island nation forward as a super-economy in Southeast Asia, World of Temasek uses it to get Singaporeans to reflect on their national past.
This Koran has an inscription in the front: “From the calligraphy of Sultan-Ali Qa’ini in Baghdad in the year 917.” (917 hejira—1511-1512 A.D.)
Iran. 14th century. 36.5 x 24.8 cm. Muhaqqaq script. Courtesy of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.
Bronze Figure of the Walking Buddha
Sukhothai period, 14th century AD
Bronze sculpture from the Thai ‘Golden Age’
This Buddha is depicted walking with his right hand in the gesture of reassurance (abhayamudra). Most Buddha images throughout Asia are in one of three postures: standing, sitting or lying down. The creation of a walking Buddha image is a distinctive feature of Thai art in the thirteenth century. Walking images of the Buddha continue to be made in Thailand to this day.
After renouncing his early life as a prince, the Buddha spent the remainder of his life as a mendicant, teaching throughout northern India. Earlier Buddhist art had stressed the god-like and king-like aspects of the Buddha, and neither gods nor kings were imagined as a walking monk. Thai images presented a new image of the Buddha walking among the people emphasizing his earthly aspects. Sukhothai walking images are also connected with the conception of Thai kings as being closer to the people than their Indian or Khmer counterparts.
The Sukhothai kingdom was the first Theravada Buddhist kingdom of Thailand. The ethnic Thai people entered modern Thailand from the north, modern south-west China. The Sukhothai style of sculpture is very distinctive, with smooth long limbs, an oval face and smooth modelling of clothing. The influence of Sri Lanka is clear in the flame-like ushnisha which is seen on the head of images of the Buddha.
W. Zwalf (ed.), Buddhism: art and faith (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)
R.E. Fisher, Buddhist art and architecture (London, Thames & Hudson, 1993)
R.L. Brown, Artibus Asiae-1 (, 1990)
Via The British Museum