Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Tara (Buddhist Deity) - Green

སྒྲོལ་མ། སྣང་བརྙན་ཡོངས། 度母(本尊)(全像)
(item no. 65453)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1200 - 1299
Lineages Buddhist
Size 46.50cm (18.31in) high
Material Metal, Silver Inlay, Stone Inset: Coral, Turquoise
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Tara, Green (Tibetan: drol ma jang ku. English: the Green Liberator, or Saviouress).

Tibetan: Drol ma jang ku

Matrix of all the Enlightened Ones: wisdom itself is personified in the female form, which represents the potential for life and for enlightenment--the matrix that fosters change, transcendence, and even complete buddhahood.

With a smiling face and beautiful to behold, the female form described in Indian literature and seen in classical temple art is the model for female deities and mother goddesses worshiped throughout the Himalayas. They appear with long narrow eyes below thin eyebrows, long hair arranged atop the head with some falling loose across the shoulders, narrow waist, seated in a leisurely posture, often with one leg extended forward. With these shared characteristics, the only distinguishing features between the beatific female deities of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Bon are their hand attributes, body color, and overall composition.

Tara is a completely enlightened buddha and having promised to appear in the form of a female bodhisattva and goddess for the benefit of all beings she especially protects from the eight fears. Practiced in all Schools of Tibetan Buddhism Tara is second in popularity only to Avalokiteshvara. Her practices are found in all classes of tantra - Old (Nyingma) and New (Sarma).

Jeff Watt 4-2005

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