This piece was inspired by an ivory carving from Japan’s Meiji period entitled “Benten and Attendant Riding a Dragon,” which is currently owned by the Museum of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg, Florida. In Japan she is considered to be one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune (七福神). Benten (also called Benzaiten 辯才天/弁財天) represents knowledge, beauty, art, poetry, and music. She is often depicted playing a biwa (琵琶), a type of Japanese stringed instrument, and she is included in both Buddhism and Shintoism. Her origin is in the Hindu goddess Saraswati, who came to Japan with the spread of Buddhism.
This is actually an old sketch of mine that I created 7 years ago, and only recently rediscovered. The original sketch was done in pencil while viewing the statue on display. After rediscovering the old sketch, I decided to add color to it. Since the original was ivory, all of the colors are of my own design.