Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Tara, Red (All Forms)

Tara (Micellaneous Forms Types)

Three Categories of Red Tara:
- Twenty-One Taras
- Miscellaneous Taras
- Tara/Kurukulla

Video: Red Tara: Three Iconographic Categories

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Masterworks
- Twenty-One Taras
--- Red (Suryagupta Tradition)
--- Red (Atisha Tradition)
- Miscellaneous Traditions
--- Ishvara Uddiyana Tara
--- Chunda Tara
--- Sakya Tradition
--- Red (Dzigar Terton Tradition)
- Kurukulla
--- Tara-Kurukulla (Five Deity Mandala)
--- Tara & Kurukulla (Nyen Lotsawa Tradition)
--- Kurukulla Main Page
- Source Texts
- Confusions: Red Sarasvati, Red Lokeshvara
- Others...

Drub Tab Gyatso (Ocean of Sadhanas)
48. Tara, Red-Green with One Face and Two Hands; Three Deities
53. Tara, Removing the Eight Fears, Red-Green with One Face and Two Hands
59. Tara, Red-Green with One Face and Four Hands

Rinjung Lhantab (Miscellaneous Forms):
- Ishvara Tara from Oddiyana
- Red Tara (Sakya Tradition)
- Nying Gi Sertig Chen

The first category of red Tara belongs to the two main systems of the Twenty-one Taras of Surya Gupta and Atisha. There are between four and six or seven different forms of the red coloured Tara in each system. Sometimes these coloured forms are confused with orange and maroon depending on available pigment, painting style, age of the artwork and the knowledge of the artist.

The second category of miscellaneous forms has three examples in art. The first is Uddiyana Tara which is found in the writings of Chogyal Pagpa and later included in the Rinjung Gyatsa of Taranata. The second is red Tara of the Shakyashri Bhadra and Sakya Pandita Tradition. This is commonly referred to as the Sakya Tradition of Red Tara. The next example belongs to the Nyingma 'Revealed Treasure' Tradition and originates with Dzigar Terton. The Sakya form of Red Tara and Dzigar Tradition are almost identical in appearance and must be distinguished by context in a painting rather than iconography.

The third category is for forms of red Tara that appear as Kurukulla. Kurukulla is a category of deity rather than an individual entity. Some forms of Kurukulla are Kurukulla herself. Other forms of the deity can be emanations of Tara and some are emanations of the deity Hevajra.

Jeff Watt [updated 4-2017, 3-2021]