The lone, all-powerful Devi sits in lalitasana on the back of Her tigrine vahana (mount). She is clad in a saree of red and gold, almost the same as the complexion of the tiger under Her that bares its merciless canines. From the hems of Her saree to the adornment of neck and waist and wrists (She is the ashtabhujadharini, the oneness possessed of eight arms), these aspects of the composition are executed in pure gold-layered gessowork. The same applies to the studded ornament around the tiger’s neck and blouse on the Devi’s torso. This is an unmistakable characteristic of Tanjore paintings.
The background, while unassuming, features a landscape with unusual detail. There is grassland strewn with wildflowers, a lake in the distance dotted with blooming lotuses, and the gentle dark of the post-twilight sky. A temple entrance archway along the upper edge of the painting, the glittering gold embellishment contrasting with the pale pastels of the background. Note how every weapon in the hands of Durga is made of gold embellishment, while the conch (partly embellished) and the lotus and the rosary are painted in muted Thanjavur tones.
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