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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Durga kills Mahisa


Finished sculpture of Durga on display in the Great Court

Basic shapes of sculpture made from straw

Basic shapes of sculpture made from straw

The straw is covered with clay

The straw is covered with clay

The clay sculptures are painted very carefully

The clay sculptures are painted very carefully


Mahisa, the demon king, was terrorising both heaven and earth. All the Gods combined their power to create the goddess Durga to fight the demon king. She was given ten arms to carry the different weapons that the gods gave her and she chased Mahisa on her lion. Trying to escape, Mahisa kept changing shape into different animals and finally turned into a buffalo. When Durga cut off the buffalo's head, Mahisa's true demon form appeared and she killed him with her spear.

Some Bengalis believe that Durga's family home is in Bengal and every year in Autumn they welcome her and her four children, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Karthik back for five days of celebration. This is called the Durga Puja, or Durga worship. A sculpture of Durga is made for this celebration every year and then plunged into the river. This one was made in the British Museum.