Gift of Steven Kossak, The Kronos Collections, 1981
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 235
The goddess Hariti is shown nursing a child and sitting on a throne flanked by lotuses and surmounted by auspicious geese (hamsa), the Buddha’s messengers. Stylistically this roundel can be related to first-century finds from the Taxila city of Sirkap, a dating that would make it one of the earliest known representations of Hariti. Buddhist texts tell us that Hariti originally stole and devoured children, but with the Buddha’s intervention she became their protector.