In a rambling indoor/outdoor warehouse in Baan Tawai, Thailand, we saw them, a pair standing there, and they saw us:
We debated adopting them. My husband thought they’d look good in our living room. I wasn’t sure. Although I liked them, I couldn’t envision where they should live. But you do know we did take them, otherwise there would be no story to tell. They now reside in our living room, and they fit in there, and visitors ask about them all the time.
For years I’ve wondered what they are. Now, I think they may be a rice god and rice goddess …
A rice goddess in Ubud, Bali shared by Sanders50 on Travelpod:
Dewi Sri, goddess of rice on Bali and Java, as explained at Andhee and Culture:
Another view, shared on Travelpod by Karsenault:
This version of Dewi Shri is fashioned from palm leaves, shared in a story about Balinese art, ritual and performance at The New York Times:
Balinese painting of a rice goddess at Rakuten:
Rice goddess at Arhaus:
Rice god and goddess from Two Buttons shared at design-phan:
Stone carved rice goddesses at Dewi Sri Stone Statue:
Rice goddesses via Flickr Lonthebay:
Rice goddess at Java Heritage:
For a change of pace, here’s a more ancient looking rice god, photographed in the Philippines, from Al’s Photos Flickr:
And from National Geographic, here’s what rice gods and goddesses protect — the food supply for much of the planet’s population. Here’s a rice planting festival in Japan in the 1970s:
Rice paddies are serene and beautiful viewed from afar. Here’s a rice paddy in Kalimpong in West Bengal, India, south of Darjeeling — shared online by Sherab’s Photography:
Rice terraces in the Philippines shared by traveler Gary Yetter — what a stunning view. Furthermore, he describes these terraces as being carved by hand into the mountainside thousands of years ago, and supported with stone walls:
This image from his blog post gives you a view of how steep these terraces are, and there is a rice god carved into this walking stick!
If you want to know more about rice goddesses, there is a good discussion at this blog post: Rice Goddesses of Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand. I like to know more about the items we bring back from travels. What is their meaning? How are they used? What is their value and role in the culture? If you have more to add about rice goddesses, please comment below! My husband’s grandfather grew rice in the India countryside many many decades ago. So maybe rice goddesses in our home are appropriate to honor that history.
This post talks about Dewi Shri, the rice goddess of Bali and Java. And as this post discusses, the rice goddesses remind me very much of the beautiful apsaras at Angkor Wat. I photographed many apsaras when we had the good fortune to visit Angkor Wat and other Khmer temples. Much architecture and symbolism there is drawn from Southern India and Hinduism, actually! I’ll do a post about that visit sometime …