This woodcut depicts a town square surrounded by buildings on the top and right edges of the composition as though viewed from above. Within the square is a field delimited by a fence in which a multitude of figures and figures on horseback are engaged in a chaotic battle. Several figures direct large lances toward other figures. Crowds of young and old and male and female figures watch the action from behind the fence and from within doorways, balconies and windows in the surrounding buildings.
A scene of a joust in a marketplace or public square.
A ten-armed figure sits with her legs tucked under her on a tiger with a long uplifted tail. The figure is incised onto the copper plate with a chisel. One set of arms are crossed across her chest, while all but six hands hold weapons. A crossed spear and trident form an X behind the figure. She has wide bracelets at each of her wrists and wears elaborate circular earrings and nose ring with a three partite crown. Two lines in devanagari script are above the figure.
Labeled as Durga, an umbrella title or classification for Goddess images, she is probably more aptly titled as Mujunidevi in Kulu, the place where this was mostly likely produced. But the iconography is pan-Indian as the name Durga is fully descriptive. Consistently the goddess rides on a tiger or lion, often apparently a combination of both felines, and carries weapons with which to kill demons. The Goddess was produced to kill demons that the gods could not kill and it was only a creation of the Goddess out of their combined powers that the demons were quelled. Here weapons of a variety of the Gods are present suggesting that collective power. Despite Durga’s militant appearance, this yantra, or mystical diagram offers its beholder a fierce and maternal protection. Elements of love, care, and nourishment are very much present alongside her martial strength. .Durga bears the weapons given to her by the male deities to kill demons that they could not subdue. The weapons represent the embodied energies, or shaktis of the individual gods, which are combined in the goddess. Most often, images of her emphasize that extraordinary energy: one famous icon represents the goddess dancing upon the inert prostrate form of her consort Shiva. This copper plate shows a six-armed Durga in a less ecstatic mode, yet her force is palpable as she parades confidently on her tiger mount. Devotion to the goddess may be less idealized, less gentle than devotion to the gods, but there is the same immediacy and intimacy about it.
This woodcut features a multitude of armored figures streaming out of a walled town—the main gate of which is visible in the center background of the composition—into a hilly countryside as they engage in battle. Nearly every figure carries a lance. Several figures in the foreground are on horseback and encounter an opposing group in battle. Figures on the left and right edges of the composition carry differing raised flags.
A battle scene with figures with lances and several on horseback.
A group of men wage battle against each other in a rocky landscape. Some of the men wear ancient Roman armor while others are only partially clothed. The combatants wield spears and swords, and some are on horseback. The mounted soldier in the center of the scene holds a large banner. A burning city is visible in the distance.
Agostino Musi captures the chaos of battle through the dense masses of men and horses locked in struggle within a harsh, rocky landscape. The scene ostensibly represents a battle between the Romans under the command of Scipio and the Carthaginians from north Africa during the Second Punic War (218 to 201 BCE), but does not depict any specific military engagement.
Inscribed in the image, in a tablet held by old woman in upper center, D H, flanking a pinecone; l.l., 97; verso, inscribed in black ink, u.l. corner, M[?] nit/ 7-87; in graphite, u.c., 30; l.l. corner, / [?] D.; BVIII. 485.47/ 64.9.7; in l.c., fr Sir T. Lawrences Coll.
Collector's marks: stamped in black ink, in the image, l.l.: T.L, surrounded by a double oval [monogram of Sir Thomas Lawrence, Lugt 2446]; verso, l.l., stamped in black ink, CDG, entwined [monogram of Dr. C.D. Ginsburg, Lugt 1145] Watermark: indecipherable
This black and white print depicts an animated and detailed scene of nude figures and mythical beasts on the surface of the sea.Two men, with seaweed hair and riding half horse/half fish creatures, strike out at each other. A man and a woman ride a beast with a scaly body and the head of a fierce dog. In the background, a man holding a trident stands with his back to the viewer. Action and motion are expressed with billowing drapery, flowing hair and moving waves. The wide mouthed expressions of the figures and animals suggest yelling and noise in this chaotic scene. Among the many details depicted by the artist is a plaque held by the woman that has his initials.
Daniel Hopfer was a 16th c. German etcher who was first trained as an armor maker and used thin iron plates for his prints - a process he invented. This print depicts one part of a larger composition by the sixteenth-century Northern Italian painter Andrea Mantegna (1430/31–1506), itself based on the relief (shallow) carving decorating a Roman sarcophagus. Mantegna frequently made reference to Roman relief sculpture in his work and his designs in turn inspired the work of engravers, whose prints provided a wider dissemination of his art. This image, in which nude figures astride fantastical creatures dominate, has been interpreted as an allegory on the theme of envy. This impression once belonged to the British painter Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830), whose collector’s mark is visible at the lower left corner.
Durga sits with her legs in a half lotus position, crossed in front of her, but not interlaced. She has a narrow waist and rounded pointy breasts with broad shoulders. Her front two hands hold a rosary (also in a reassuring gesture) and a pot. Her other hands fan out around her. Reading clockwise, she carries a wide assortment of weapons, an arrow, sword, feather, club, discus, trident and [?] on her right and conch, bell, noose, trident, club?, shield, bow and a kapala (skull cup). She has large open eyes and a full mouth and nose. She wears jewelry including necklaces and shoulder loops, armlets, bracelets and large floral earrings. Her crown rest atop her head, but there are wing-like elements that fan out behind her ears. She sits on a squared base with stylized lotus petals over simpler moldings.
Durga is a common name for the Goddess. She has a large following in Hinduism and often the title Durga is an umbrella name covering a wide assortment of goddesses. The fact that she has so many arms suggests this collective identity. It relates to stories told in the Devimahatmya, part of a larger work, which tells how the gods could not beat particular demons and it is only when the goddess was created and imbued with the individual powers of all of the gods that the demons could be vanquished. Consequently she holds weapons associated with a number of the gods.