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Saraswati, Goddess of Learning and Music, Playing a Vina
Y. G. Srimati (Indian, 1927–2007)
Watercolor, graphite underdrawing
Image: 20 x 13 1/4 in. (50.8 x 33.7 cm)
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2009
Not on view
Saraswati, the benign and beautiful goddess of knowledge, was shared by all the ancient religions of India. She is one of the few goddesses to have a Vedic source; her name, "Flowing One," alludes to her origins as the personification one of the ancient rivers of India, the now-lost Saraswati. Through her embodiment of learning she has come to be identified with the arts, music, speech, and poetry; hence her attributes are the vina and the book. She has a classically proportioned figure with full breasts, a slender waist, and a pale complexion (described as "white" in the shastras). The setting of swirling clouds and waters suggests her river origins.
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