How to distinguish between Sri Devi and Bhu Devi

There are always trick questions and this is one such. When you murthis with multiple consorts how would you distinguish between them. Are there standard right left positioning – like Vishnu with Sridevi and Bhudevi, how would you distinguish between them. You might ask, why to seek, but then each are expected to bless you with a different gift hamper.

This is especially true when only one is found as part of a buried horde. The answer is pretty simple of course, Iconographic guidelines stipulate that Sridevi always comes with a Kuchabandha or breast band, whereas Bhudevi is without.

Let us test this out in. The Vishnu cave ( Olipathi vishnu griham) in Malaiyadipatti has a depiction of Vishnu with his consorts.

Lets step in closer to view the costumes of the two ladies.

You can clearly make out the distinctions between the two of them.

Let us know see this wonderful 10 C CE bronze currently on exhibit at the London Museum.

We will study the evolution of the Vishnu bronze images including a few early period bronzes shortly, but for the purpose of today’s study, lets just analyse the distinction in wearing the Kuchabandha.

Lets go closer to Sridevi

You can see that she clearly wears the Kuchabhanda.

Now for Bhudevi, who doesn’t wear it.

Now, comes the small niggle. The display board under Bhudevi reads as ” Here she wears the characteristic Kuchabandha or breast band‘ which is wrong. She is not wearing in this bronze nor does she ever portrayed as wearing under iconographic canons.

Hope the authorities in the London Museum can make this small correction.

14 thoughts on “How to distinguish between Sri Devi and Bhu Devi

  1. These restrictions get more and more crystallized as time goes on; in earlier periods, it’s not reliable… Take a look at Mahalakshmi at Varaha cave ( ) where this rule isn’t followed.

    But it’s followed again in later works (like GKC:

    When did the Agamas crystallize? How do you identify in the early period?

  2. Hi Shash

    Early Pallava had a lot of freedom. However, basing on this is a little difficult, since she is the process of a taking a ceremonial bath !!


  3. Sridevi always has her right hand in lola hastha. there is also some converntion on which floer they hold – lotus or lilly.

  4. I saw Shashwath’s picassa web collection. How can we be sure that the female deity depicted there in is Bhudevi. I strongly feel it is Sridevi simply because other than her attendants, she is surrounded by two elephants. That makes it Gajalakshmi because Bhudevi near appears surrounded by elephants. Besides it is Sridevi who is Lakshmi where is Bhoodevi represents the earth.

  5. dear NS

    I think you misunderstood his point. there is no doubt that the Mallai varaha sculpture is that of Laxmi / GajaLaxmi. Shash’s question is the depiction there without the KuchaBandana – my reply being that its a bathing scene.


  6. But VJ on seeing the picassa snap of Shashwath, this thought came to me. When the deity in question (if it is one) is in the process of taking bath or being bathed, where is the question of her wearing or not wearing a Kuchabandha?? If she is standing alone or with the Lord as in Malaiyadipatti and is in a blessing pose (whether standing or in Padmasana), then only the question of distinguishing her identity arises (with and without the Kuchabandha). Am I correct??

  7. ப்ரஸன்னா அவர்களின் வினா நியாயமானது.

    வல்லீ தேவஸேநாபதி –

    வலப்புறம் – தெய்வயானை – கற்புமணம்
    இடப்புறம் – வள்ளி – காதல்மணம்

    இடப்புறம் வள்ளிக்கு மார்க்கச்சு இல்லை


  8. ஸ்ரீதேவி என்பது மனைவியையும் பூதேவி என்பது அவரது நாட்டையும் குறிக்கும். எந்தத் தமிழ்த்தெய்வங்களுக்கும் இரண்ட் மனைவியர் கிடையாது. முருகனின் மனைவி வல்லி ம்ட்டுமே. முருகன் எங்குட்டுவனே; அவனது மனைவி வல்லி செங்குட்டுவனின் தாய்மாமன் கரிகால்= திருமாவளவனின் மகளே. இதனைப் பழந்தமிழ்[சங்க]ப் பாடல்களும் சிலப்பதிகாரமும் உறுதிப்படுத்து கின்றன. தேவசேனா என்பது பெண் அல்ல. தேவர்களின் சேனையை வென்று படையினர் அனைவரையும் கைப்பற்றியதையே தேவசேனாவை மணந்ததாகக் காட்டியுள்ளனர். திருச்சந்தூரில் வல்லிக்கு மட்டுமே பள்ளியறை உண்டு; தேவசேனா பெண் அல்ல என்பதால் பள்ளியறை எதுவும் கிடையாது. மேலும் திருச்சந்தூரில் தனது தந்தை முசுகுந்த பரசுராம சிவனைச் சேர்க்காமல் தனது தாய்மாமன் திருமாவளவனை மட்டுமே சேர்த்துள்ளனர் என்பது குறிப்பிடத்தக்கது. ஏலும் இத்தகவல்களை றிய எனது வலைத்தளத்தில் காணவும்.

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