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Parvati Nursing Ganesha
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Parvati Nursing Ganesha

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description India’s multiple religious traditions produced lively exchanges in the representation of the divine. Here, the artist adapted Christian iconography of the Virgin and Child for a touching image of the Hindu goddess Parvati nursing her elephant-headed son Ganesha. According to one story, Parvati, wife of the god Shiva, desperately wanted a child and created a boy to guard her door while Shiva was away. Prevented from entering Parvati’s room when he returned, Shiva became so enraged that he decapitated the boy. At Parvati’s insistence, Shiva sent his servants to find the child a new head. They came back with the head of an elephant, and with it Ganesha was restored to life. Imagine the once-dazzling effects of Parvati’s jewelry and throne. Thin pieces of metal were used to imitate gemstones. The dark gray inserts are made of silver, while the lighter ones are made of copper covered with silver and a transparent red paint, now mostly lost. Although their appearance has changed over time, these dark and light gray inserts would have originally looked like diamonds and rubies. The elaborate jewelry is further enriched with thick white paint, which was skillfully worked with a rounded tool to resemble pearls.
Date Description Narrative
6/11/2017Treatmentexamined for exhibition; inpainted; installed in climate package; loss compensation; media consolidation; x-ray florescence
  • Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Nepal, and Tibet in the John and Berthe Ford Collection. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong. 2001-2003.
  • Goddess Divine Energy. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. 2006-2007.
Provenance John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore; given to Walters Art Museum, 2001.
Credit Gift of John and Berthe Ford, 2001

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19th century
opaque watercolor, gold paint, and copper and silver foil on paper
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
H: 14 13/16 x W: 10 3/4 in. (37.62 x 27.31 cm); Framed: H: 23 1/8 × W: 19 7/16 × D: 1 1/4 in. (58.74 × 49.37 × 3.18 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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