Hariti Statuette

Cleveland Museum of Art

About the work

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This statue of Hariti reflects the prevalence of Buddhism in Tang Dynasty China. Chinese Buddhists called the goddess Guizimu, “mother of demons.” An artist carved the image in ivory, a costly natural resource most prevalent in the south of China and in Southeast Asia. Unlike most Indian representations of Hariti, in which the goddess is seated, this statuette shows the goddess standing. She has an ornamented torso and a garment draped on her lower half. She is nursing a chubby baby, a common motif across her representations, signifying abundance and maternal care. In Chinese myth, Guizimu often has 10,000 children.

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