Souvenir Painting of the Goddess Shashthi on a Cat
Artist/maker unknown, India
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.