Souvenir Painting of the Goddess Shashthi on a Cat

Artist/maker unknown, India

Made in Calcutta (present-day Kolkata), West Bengal, India, Asia

c. 1880

Transparent, opaque, and metallic watercolors on paper

13 x 10 inches (33 x 25.4 cm) Mat: 19 1/4 x 14 1/8inches (48.9 x 35.9cm)

Curatorial Department:
Indian and Himalayan Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994

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In the Bengal region, Shashthi is worshiped as a goddess of birth and protector of small children. She is identified by the babies she holds and her yellow-colored skin, and particularly by the cat that is her vehicle and complement. Women worship her if they wish to become pregnant and on the sixth day after a child is born. The nineteenth-century artist used silver-colored paint to highlight ornaments and clothing, a practice that soon became obsolete as competition forced painters to work ever faster and more cheaply.