Black antelope: Durga's mount

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 24 00:34:03 UTC 1999

The following has relevance to threads:
1) What animal does Durga ride?
2) Indus culture, Durga, and Cilappatikaram
3) How a buck/stag could have become a lion?
All in June 1997. Sorry for being late.

Not only CilappatikAram, but Tevaram, Perialvar,
CuuTaamaNi nikaNTu also talk of Durga riding a black antelope.

kalai atu Urti ceya mAtu - Tevaram

1) Ay kalaip paavai, 2) pAy kalaip pAvai,
3) kalaip pari Urtiyaik kai tozutu Etti,
4) kariya tiri kOTTuk kalaimicai mEl nin2RAyAl
occur in CilappatikAram.

I do not know if the corresponding IVC seals (cf. Parpola) depict
animals with manes and hence Prof. Parpola identifies them
as Markhor goats.

But Tamil tradition, both in sculpture and texts, definitely
talk of black antelope as one of Durga's mounts (the other
being Lion).

There are two beautiful Durga sculptures at Madras Government museum.
One is eight armed Durga standing on a Buffalo head. Nearby
is the Black antelope, the Lion is absent. The other
similar Durga with black antelope, (and NO lion) is
from Periya veNmaNi village.
Published:Nanditha Krishna, Shakti in art and religion,
Madras: C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation, 1991,
plate 12.

What is the current URL of Dr. Michael Rabe's Durga
article (Durgas with stags from Singavaram, Mamallapuram, Tiruchy)?

Can the presence of stag represent a Durga at peace after war and
a the presence of lion indicate Durga at war?

N. Ganesan

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