The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of June 9, 2024



c. 1300s
Location: not on view


This Hindu goddess has the body of a young mother and the head of a female boar, which is the meaning of the Sanskrit word varahi, with the third eye of true knowledge. This sculpture was one of a set of seven goddesses associated with worship of the Hindu god Shiva or the mother goddess. The objects in three of her four hands reference the countercultural tantric Hindu practices of drinking revolting liquids from a bowl made from a skull. The fish implies the consumption of illicit food, and the snake pertains to the noose that keeps one bound in fear that leads to inevitable death. In tantric Hindu rituals, this goddess would aid the practitioners in overcoming their fears that keep them attached to ordinary life in the world, instead of reaching the liberated state of union with the creator.
  • Pal, Pratapaditya. "Two Gilt-Copper Survivors of the 1934 Earthquake and Some Related Objects from Nepal." Berliner indologische Studien, vol. 23 (2017): pp. 265-290 pp. 265-290
  • Sacred India. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (November 5, 1985-January 12, 1986).
    Year in Review: 1978. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (February 13-March 18, 1979).
  • {{cite web|title=Varahi|url=false|author=|year=c. 1300s|access-date=09 June 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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