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Bubalus Bubalis, the water buffalo

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Chapter Summary

In almost all depictions of buffaloes, the animal is rendered with great care for its exterior characteristics as horn shape, massive and broad muzzle which is laterally compressed in the middle, split and broad hooves, long smooth tail with bushy tip, and pendulous ears. In narratives reliefs, buffaloes hardly ever play an active role. They either indicate the presence of water or figure as draught animal. The iconography of Durga slaying the buffalo varies greatly. Among the vast amount of representations of this myth, it seems that the sculptures can be classified in the following way. Three main types are discerned: a complete buffalo, a decapitated buffalo with emerging demon and a buffalo-headed demon; a fourth and somewhat different type is Durga/Korravai standing on an isolated buffalo head.

Keywords: Bubalus Bubalis; buffalo-headed demon; complete buffalo; decapitated buffalo with emerging demon; iconography of durga; narratives reliefs; stone sculptures; water buffalo



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