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Souvenir Painting of the Goddess Shashthi on a Cat

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

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

c. 1880

Transparent, opaque, and metallic watercolors on paper

Image: 10 7/8 × 7 3/4 inches (27.6 × 19.7 cm) Sheet: 13 1/8 × 9 15/16 inches (33.3 × 25.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian 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.