Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Tara (Buddhist Deity) - White

སྒྲོལ་མ། སྣང་བརྙན་ཡོངས། 度母(本尊)(全像)
(item no. 139)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Uncertain
Size 68.58x49.53cm (27x19.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1995.11.4
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

White Tara (Tibetan: drol ma kar mo, English: Saviouress): Bestower of Long-Life.

Peaceful and smiling, she has one face and two hands and a total of seven eyes with the extras on the forehead and palms of the hands and feet. The right hand performs the mudra (gesture) of supreme generosity with the palm open and facing outward. The left hand holds to the heart with the thumb and ring finger the stem of a lotus blossoming above the shoulder. Adorned with a tiara of gold and jewels, earrings, necklaces and the like, she wears dark green silks and lower garments of red and blue. In a rainbow sphere atop a moon disc and multi-coloured lotus blossom she sits in vajra posture radiating a nimbus of blue and orange light.

At the top center is buddha Amitabha, red in colour holding a begging bowl in the lap. Below that is the slightly fierce Vajravidarana, green in colour, holding a visvavajra at the heart with the right hand and a bell turned upwards and held in the lap with the left. Both are seated in vajra posture.

Below the rainbow sphere are three figures of Green Tara with the right hand in the mudra of generosity and the left holding a lotus flower; seated with the right legs extended. Below to the right and left are two forms of Vasudhara (Tib.: nor gyun ma), the goddess of wealth, yellow in colour. At the bottom center is the tutelary deity and protector, Hayagriva, red in colour, with three faces and six hands; surrounded by the flames of pristine awareness. Arranged in front are three skull bowls filled with wrathful offerings.

Encircling the central Tara and filling all of the surrounding space are 100 small White Tara figures each in identical appearance. From the application of gold paint as an offering all the white Taras appear yellow in colour. Classified as Kriya Tantra and practiced in all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism she was popularized by Jowo Atisha, Nyen Lotsawa, Bari Lotsawa and Kashmiri Pandita Shakyashri.

Jeff Watt 10-98

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Long-Life Deities
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery VI
Buddhist Deity: Tara Main Page (Paintings)
Buddhist Deity: Tara, White Main Page
Subject: Composition - Repeated Figures Main Page