European Private Collection, acquired in 2000
Osmund Bopearachchi, et. al., De l’Indus a l’Oxus Archeologie de l’Asie Centrale, exhibition catalogue, Association IMAGO – Musée de Lattes, 2003, pp. 244-245, 269, no. 229
The goddess of abundance and fertility is seated on a throne with her feet resting on two overturned pots. Her round face has a benign expression with fine features and a slight smile. An aureole frames her head, and the hair is loosely tied in a topknot with wavy tresses cascading around her head. Behind the knot, a fragmentary polos crown is visible. Her shoulders are framed by the ornamental backrest of the throne.
The goddess wears a diaphanous chiton revealing her breasts, cinched at the waist, and fastened elaborately on her right shoulder with at least three loops. An himation is draped over her left shoulder. Hariti’s adornments include a simple torque around her neck and small earrings.
Both of her hands are broken, making it challenging to determine their original position. However, based on other examples, the left hand held a cornucopia decorated with acanthus leaves at its base. Two barbaric looking yakshas with muscular torsos and unruly hair are gazing up at the goddess while spilling the contents of the pots as offerings. Piles of gold coins have spewed from the vessels and lay on either side of the pedestal.
Hariti was originally an ogress who devoured children, was converted by Sakyamuni and became a Buddhist nun, and, thereafter, was worshipped as a protector of children and usually represented surrounded by children or carrying a child, a pomegranate, or a cornucopia. In India, Hariti’s cult was widespread—her images have been found in Gandhara (now Pakistan and Afghanistan), Mathura, the Gangetic Valley, and the Deccan. Although the dominant religion in some of these parts was Buddhism, the goddess appears to have been very popular with worshippers of many different religious orientations. Hariti had little competition in the Gandharan kingdom, though we do see related imagery in Kushan Dynasty coinage which depicts the Persian goddess of fortune, Ardochsho, holding a cornucopia. She is often paired with her consort Pharro. In this guise, the couple closely resembles the common depiction of Hariti with her consort Panchika. Analogies have also been drawn with the Persian goddess Anahita, the Greek Tyche, the Roman Fortuna, and the Hindu goddess Sri Lakshmi.