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Ganga Devi, goddess of the river Ganges, standing on an aquatic creature (makara)

Ganga Devi, goddess of the river Ganges, standing on an aquatic creature (<i>makara</i>)

Ganga Devi, goddess of the river Ganges, standing on an aquatic creature (makara)

Red sandstone

H: 53; W: 18; D: 8 cm

Gift of Hillel and Selma Picciotto, Paris

Accession number:

B81.0149

Arts/Asian Art

Ganga, the Hindu river goddess, is identified with the purity of water, which nourishes the land and is the source of all life. The Ganges River, located in the northeast of India is believed to cleanse bathers of their sins. Water rituals, including Ganga worship, demonstrate the crucial role of water in India, which periodically experiences devastating floods or drought. Like most of the Hindu gods, Ganga has an attendant animal, in this case an aquatic creature called a makara, here with a crocodile’s body and an elephant’s trunk; the makara also sometimes appears as a dolphin or fish.