Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Tara (Buddhist Deity) - White

སྒྲོལ་མ། སྣང་བརྙན་ཡོངས། 度母(本尊)(全像)
(item no. 60907)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Gold Background on Cotton
Collection Bodleian Libraries , University of Oxford
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

White Tara, (Tibetan: drol ma kar mo): the female Buddha of longevity. There are three Tibetan teachers at the top center - possibly Je Tsongkapa and his two foremost students Gyaltsab and Khedrub. Surrounding the central Tara are one hundred identical smaller forms of White Tara. This type of painting follows a repeated figure composition.

Tara is a completely enlightened buddha and as a young bodhisattva she promised always to appear in the form of a female bodhisattva and goddess for the benefit of all beings and especially to protect from the eight fears. In this white form she appears specifically for the purpose of bestowing longevity. Practiced in all Schools of Tibetan Buddhism Tara is second in popularity only to Avalokiteshvara. Her practices are found in all classes of tantra - Nyingma and Sarma.

"...with a hue white like an autumn moon - radiant like a stainless crystal jewel, shining with rays of light, one face, two hands, and having three eyes; with the conduct of having sixteen years of age. The right hand is in the mudra of supreme generosity; the left holds with the thumb and forefinger the stem of a white utpala to the heart with the petals blossoming at the ear. Representing the buddhas of the three times the single stem is divided into three, in the middle is a blossoming flower, the right in fruition, the left in the form of a bud; adorned with various jewel ornaments; having various silk upper garments and a lower garment of red silk; seated with the legs in vajra posture. The palms of the hands and feet each have an eye - the seven eyes of pristine awareness." (Sachen Ngagwang Kunga Lodro, 1729-1783).

Jeff Watt 6-2014

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Tara, White Main Page
Subject: Composition - Repeated Figures Main Page
Painting Type: Gold Ground
Collection of Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
Buddhist Deity: Tara (Repeated Figures)