Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Tara (Buddhist Deity) - Green

སྒྲོལ་མ། སྣང་བརྙན་ཡོངས། 度母(本尊)(全像)
(item no. 26)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1400 - 1499
Lineages Nyingma
Size 29.84x25.40cm (11.75x10in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1994.4.3
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Tara Green (Tibetan: drol ma jang ku. English: Saviouress or Liberator), surrounded by various buddhas and bodhisattvas.

Tibetan: Drol ma jang ku

Dark green in colour, she performs the mudra (gesture) of generosity with the right hand across the knee while holding the stem of a lotus flower. The right is held at the heart in the mudra of blessing also holding a lotus flower stem, blossoming at the upper left side. Adorned with a tiara of gold, earrings, necklaces and bracelets, she wears bright red garments while seated in a relaxed posture with the right leg extended atop a multi-coloured lotus seat with a red backrest of swirling designs.

Starting at the top left is the buddha Shakyamuni followed by the buddhas of the five families; yellow Ratnasambhava, blue Akshobhya, white Vairochana, red Amitabha and green Amoghasiddhi. Descending at the right is the Medicine Guru, buddha of healing, blue in colour. Below that is the bodhisattva Maitreya, performing the teaching mudra, seated with the legs extended in front. Below that is orange Manjushri holding upraised a sword and an utpala flower with the left. Below that is the bodhisattva of compassion, white Sakasari Avalokiteshvara, with four hands. Likely seated at the bottom right is the patron that commissioned the work of art.

Descending at the left side is blue Vajradhara with the hands crossed at the heart. Below that, a lama figure wears a meditation hat and holds a vajra to the heart with the right hand and the left placed in the lap (possibly Padmasambhava). Below is white Vajrasattva, the buddha of purification, holding a vajra and bell. Below that is the wrathful form of the bodhisattva Vajrapani, blue, holding a vajra in the upraised right hand, in a standing posture. At the bottom left a religious figure wearing the garb of a layman kneels before an offering shrine of four cone shaped torma (stylized food) and various gold offering containers.

Tara is the most popular female bodhisattva in Tibetan Buddhism. She is practiced in a variety of forms by all the various schools and traditions and is represented in all four classifications of tantra from Kriya to Anuttarayoga.

Jeff Watt 3-99

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: Homage to Amitabha Buddha. May the sins of Potang (name of person who commissioned the painting) be purified and may (he) reach the state of Tara. Lama Kunga 4-98

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery VI
Tradition: Nyingma Deity Paintings
Buddhist Deity: Tara Main Page (Paintings)
Buddhist Deity: Tara, Green Main Page