Linking Afro-Asian and European Traces of Bovine Veneration to India’s Sacred Cow

Eve Millar

Abstract


India is unique among many contemporary cultures because parts of its Hindu population continue to revere an animal that is an important contributor to the survival of many pastoral and agricultural communities, the cow. Yet the cow also played a significant cosmological role in the lives of numerous peoples who inhabited the regions west of India. Visual remains in the form of bones from cattle burials, depictions of bovid iconography in cave art, pottery, relief and sculpture, as well as cow imaginings rendered visible through mythological accounts, point toward how the cow appears to have been associated with notions of creation and the divine feminine, which along with ideas of abundance,  fertility and well being, are attributed to her by countless Hindus today.





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ISSN (Print): 1705-2947
ISSN (Online): 1712-5634