|Date Range||1800 - 1899|
|Material||Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton|
|Collection||Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art|
Tibetan: Drol ma jang ku
Dark green, the colour of emerald, with one face and two hands, the right is extended across the right knee with the palm facing outward in the mudra (gesture) of giving protection - 'fearlessness.' The left is held at the heart in the mudra of blessing while holding the stem of an utpala flower blossoming at the left ear. The hair is tied in a topknot with some falling loose, adorned with a small figure of Buddha Amitabha, red in colour, sitting on the crown. Wearing a tiara of flowers, gold and jewels, earrings, necklaces and bracelets, a long flowing red scarf and silks of various colours. In the relaxed posture of 'royal ease' with the right leg extended, the left drawn up, she is seated above a moon disc and pink lotus seat. Spheres of various coloured lights in circular patterns emanate from her body. A white conch and wishing jewels are arranged on the ground in front.
At the top left sits the Buddha Shakyamuni, golden in colour, performing the 'earth witness' mudra with the right hand and holding a black begging bowl in the lap with the left; seated on a pink lotus and billowing clouds.
At the left of the foreground is a village with three figures taking notice of a herd of rampaging elephants emerging from the forest.
Tara is a completely enlightened buddha who had previously promised to appear, after enlightenment, in the form of a female bodhisattva and goddess for the benefit of all beings. Practiced in all Schools of Tibetan Buddhism her various forms are found in all classes of tantra - Nyingma and Sarma. The famous 10 syllable mantra and short tantra, the 'Twenty-one Praises of Tara' spoken by the buddha Samantabhadra, are memorized and popularly recited by all Tibetans from the time of early childhood. The special activity of Tara is to protect from the 8 and 16 fears. The eight fears are water, fire, lions, snakes, elephants, thieves, imprisonment and ghosts, meant literally, they also have a deeper psychological significance. This painting is only one from a set of nine depicting each of the eight fears and a central painting of Green Tara.
Jeff Watt 10-98