Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Tara (Buddhist Deity) - White

སྒྲོལ་མ། སྣང་བརྙན་ཡོངས། 度母(本尊)(全像)
(item no. 90527)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Uncertain
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

White Tara (Tibetan: drol ma kar mo, English: the White Saviouress), the long-life form of the female bodhisattva Tara.

Peaceful with a smiling face and three eyes the right hand is extended across the knee in the mudra (gesture) of generosity with the palm facing out and down. The right hand is placed at the heart holding the stem of a lotus flower blossoming over the left shoulder. Richly adorned with a gold and jewel tiara, hair ribbons, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and anklets all studded with variously coloured gemstones, she wears a long green scarf across the shoulders, entwined about the arms. The lower body is attired in a predominantly red brocade skirt with trim of various colour, seated above a lush pink flower blossom rising on a green stem from a lotus pond, surrounded by a dark pink nimbus of radiant light edged with blue. The foreground is strewn with wishing jewels - rich in colour, conch shells, precious golden objects and red coral.

At the top center sits the buddha of immortality, Amitayus, the sambhogakaya form of Amitabha. Red in colour, with the hands placed in the mudra of meditation, he is lavishly attired in jewels and silks; wreathed by ribbons of rainbow light. At the left atop a bank of clouds is a figure wearing monastic robes and performing the mudra of Dharma teaching. At the right side a similar figure wearing a red cap and robes sits with the hands placed in the mudra of meditation.

Tara is a completely enlightened buddha and as a young bodhisattva promised always to appear in female form for the benefit of all beings - especially to protect from the eight fears and sixteen fears. In the white form she specifically bestows the blessings of 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.

Jeff Watt 5-99

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