DateLate19th-early 20th century
MediumPigments and gold on sized cloth
DimensionsMat : 14 x 11 in. (35.56 x 27.94 cm)
Work : 6 7/16 x 5 in. (16.26 x 12.7 cm)
Credit LineHope College Collection
Buddhist legend says that Hariti began life as a female demon who killed human children to feed her own offspring. When Shakyamuni Buddha confronted her with the suffering she was causing, she changed her ways and instead became a protector of children. This painting portrays Hariti sitting on a lotus pad in a relaxed pose with her legs extended in front of her. Her body is adorned with gold jewelry and sumptuous silk clothing, and her skin radiates a golden light. In her lap she holds both an infant and a jewel-spitting mongoose. The cult of Hariti was especially popular in eastern Mongolia and parts of Northern China. The reverse side of this painting is inscribed with a three-syllable consecration mantra.