This double-sided banner shows two matrika, mother goddesses that represent the female counterparts of the great Hindu gods and the embodiments of those gods’ energies (shakti). The white matrika is Varuni, the goddess of the water, symbolized by the multiple snakes that form a hood above her head, the mythical water monster (makara) she dances on, and the lotus and serpent she holds in her hands. The red matrika Varahi on the reverse (at left) is the female aspect of the Hindu boar god Varaha, who is an avatar of the great god Vishnu.
The body of each god is emphasized through the use of a contrasting background color. They are both represented under a canopy with tassels hanging from the sides. Their patterned skirt-like garments (dhoti), flowing ribbons, and five-petaled crowns are all characteristic of Nepalese painting. Banners such as this were used in religious processions and were a part of larger sets.
23 3/4 x 17 1/2 in.
C2007.19.1, HAR69050, 69051