Watercolor, graphite, ink, and tin on paper
Painting only: 44.2 x 27.9 cm (17 3/8 x 11 in.)
Gift of William E. Ward in memory of his wife, Evelyn Svec Ward 2003.169
The goddess Parvati is portrayed here with the infant Ganesh in her arms. Ganesh is the ever-popular elephant-headed deity who is worshipped as the mischievous god of obstructions and beginnings. Ganesh is fashioned from the dirt of Parvati’s body. At his mother’s request, Ganesh guarded her as she bathed, only to be confronted by the god Shiva, Parvati’s husband, who is refused entry. Not knowing that Ganesh is his son, Shiva cuts off his head and enters. Parvati demands that Ganesh be restored. Ganesh is often portrayed as an infant when depicted with his mother Parvati, highlighting his childlike character.
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