The Goddess Ganga
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
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The goddess Ganga is the divine personification of the most important river in India, the holy Ganges. In this painting she rides the rippling waves atop her vahana (vehicle), depicted here as an enormous rohu, a type of Indian carp common in rivers across northern India. Also breaching the water are two gharials, thin-nosed crocodiles native to the Ganges and other North Indian rivers, and a tiny elephant, likewise associated with water and often shown as a marine animal in Indian painting. The white-robed goddess holds a vessel full of the sacred river water and a lotus flower, a symbol of purity and abundance. In the sky, white egrets and other waterbirds soar across the monsoon clouds.