Small Relief of Hariti

Brooklyn Museum

About the work

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This image of the goddess Hariti, at the viewer’s right, is difficult to make out. However, it shows us an important aspect of her iconography. She is pictured, as usual, holding her child, and she is seated next to what appears to be a male deity. This figure may be Hariti’s consort Panchika, the yaksha or nature spirit who fathered her 500 children. Panchika is often considered the general of the yaksha army. It could also be Kubera, king of the yakshas, a Kushan and Buddhist deity of good fortune and wealth — though unlike this figure, Kubera is typically depicted with a large, bare belly representing abundance.

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