Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Tara (Buddhist Deity) - (Atisha, 21 Taras)

སྒྲོལ་མ། སྣང་བརྙན་ཡོངས། 度母(本尊)(全像)
(item no. 338)
Origin Location Central Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug
Size 41.91x29.21cm (16.50x11.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.23.3
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Female

TBRC: bdr:W25346

Interpretation / Description

White Tara, Pacifying All Suffering (Tibetan: drol ma kar mo): Jowo Atisha, Heruka Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja, red wrathful deity, and 'Secret' Yama Dharmaraja. Number 19 from the set of Twenty-one Taras of the lineage of Lord Atisha; purifying all disputes and bad dreams.

Orange in colour with one face and two hands, the right hand is in the mudra (gesture) of supreme generosity holding an orange vase extended across the knee. The left hand is held to the heart with the thumb and forefinger holding the stem of a red and blue utpala flower blossoming at the left ear. Peaceful, smiling and youthful she is adorned with flowing silks red, green and blue in colour, adorned with gold and jewel ornaments, gold tiara and the like; seated with the right leg slightly extended in a relaxed manner and the left drawn up. On a moon disc and multi-coloured lotus seat encircled by a blue-red nimbus and an orange aureola she sits surrounded by a lush green landscape. On a pink lotus in front a small red goddess offers a white torma (stylized food) on a gold plate. To the front right a small dark man with the hands shackled moves towards Tara.

At the top left is the primordial buddha Vajradhara, dark blue, with one face and two hands holding a vajra and bell embracing the consort. At the right is the Indian pandit, Lord Atisha (982-1054), performing the Dharma Teaching mudra and wearing a red hat and monastic robes.

At the bottom right is Secret Yama Dharmaraja, red, with a buffalo head and holding a jewel in the right hand and a skullcup in the left; riding a red buffalo. At the left is a wrathful red deity holding a curved knife in the right hand and a skullcup in the left; accompanied by two attendants, red and blue, both with animal faces.

Tara is a completely enlightened buddha who in a previous life promised to appear, after enlightenment, in the form of a female bodhisattva and goddess for the benefit of all beings. Her primary activity is to protect from the eight fears. Practiced in all Schools of Tibetan Buddhism her various forms are found in all classes of tantra - Nyingma and Sarma.

From the tantra known as the

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: Left nine.

Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: gyon dgu pa.

Reverse of Painting
Special Features: (includes "Om Ah Hum" inscription)

Secondary Images
Related Items
Exhibition Appearances
Exhibition: Female Buddhas at Bruce Museum of Art

Thematic Sets
Painting Set: Tara, Twenty-one (Panchen Lama)
Buddhist Deity: Tara (Atisha Tradition)
Tradition: Gelug Deity Paintings
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
Buddhist Deity: Tara Main Page