Hariti (Indonesian)

Hariti

A disclaimer. This is Indonesian and it is modern (20th century). The patina is applied.

This bronze is Hariti. The mythology of Hariti is Buddhist in origin and dates back to Gandhara period (3rd century of the common era). The concept was popular in Northwestern India and the adjacent areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.Hariti back

Here you see a two-armed Goddess holding a child in each of her arms with three children sitting around her. Her face and the five children sitting around her gives no indication of reasons for her being worshipped as the protector of children.

Hariti, married to Yaksha Panchika, lived in Rajagriha with her five hundred children. But she used to eat other children in Rajagriha. When Buddha was informed of what is happening, he hid one of Hariti’s children. When distraught Hariti met Buddha and she narrated her story of her missing child. Buddha pointed it out if missing one of five hundred children can cause so much mental agony, what would be the case of mothers who lost her only child. With that Hariti realized her mistake and wanted to be the protector of children.

This bronze, from Indonesia, is included here to show the spread of the concept/mythology and the fact the story and form have remained unchanged for such a long time. The bronze is about 18 cm in height. In all likelihood, this was made for trade and not for worship.

 

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