Pavarti and Ganesha.
India, Jaipur, ca. 1820. Opaque watercolor on paper. Lent by Mr. and Mrs. John Gilmore Ford.

This charming painting shows goddess Parvati suckling baby Ganesha as the infant places his hand upon her other breast. Elephant-headed Ganesha, an important and beloved deity worshiped at the start of any enterprise, is usually depicted as an adult. Here, the artist portrays Ganesha as an infant to emphasize Parvati's maternal love. Images of a nursing mother and child are rare in India and it is likely that the iconography was borrowed from European depictions of the Virgin Mary and the infant Christ that entered India beginning in the sixteenth century. This image was probably painted in the early nineteenth-century in Jaipur, a Hindu kingdom located in eastern Rajasthan, not far from Delhi.


Parvati and Ganesha