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Goddess Hariti Seated Holding a Child

A work made of gray schist.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gray schist.


2nd/3rd century


Ancient region of Gandhara

About this artwork

Originally a child-devouring demoness, Hariti ultimately became a benevolent protector of children after the Buddha kidnapped one of her own to demonstrate the distress she had been inflicting upon other parents. Hariti, who herself had hundreds of children, is here shown with one child in her lap tugging on her necklace, another tapping her left shoulder, and a third clinging to her skirt by her left knee. As a Buddhist goddess, she was propitiated by female devotees for fertility and healthy childbirth. Hariti was also venerated as a protector of the monastic community at large, and shrines housing her image were typically located near a monastery’s entrance or refectory. She was especially popular in the Gandharan region, where Greco-Roman stylistic conventions were salient in the fabrication of sculptures.


On View, Gallery 140


Arts of Asia


Goddess Hariti Seated Holding a Child


Gandhara (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

101 CE–300 CE


Gray schist


61 × 43.2 × 16.5 cm (24 × 17 × 6 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Marilynn B. Alsdorf

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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