Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Tara, Twenty-one Taras (Masterworks)

Twenty-one Taras Page

The examples below represent three different iconographic traditions of the Twenty-one Taras: Suryagupta, Atisha and Chogyur Lingpa. The paintings represent five different regional styles: India, Central Tibet, North-east Tibet (Amdo), South-east Tibet (Kham) and Bhutan.

Iconographic Tradition:
- Suryagupta: HAR #88656, 203515
- Atisha: 672, 1049, 65257, 88656, 90582
- Chogyur Lingpa: #60618, 61259

Examples of Style & Region:
- Indian Style: HAR #88656
- Central Tibet Style: #1049, 65257, 90582
- Amdo Style: #672
- Kham Style: #60618, 61259
- Bhutanese Style: #203515

The Indian style painting depicts both the Suryagupta and the Atisha Twenty-one Taras. The composition overwhelms the painting surface with almost no remaining negative space. The Central Tibetan examples are similar with the full use of available space employed for additional figures, landscape and ornamentation. For the Eastern Tibetan art, Amdo and Kham, both compositions tend to be more spacious with blue background sky and green foreground meadows, mountains and a water element. Example #60618 is from Katog Monastery and #61259 is in a Palpung Monastery style.

Some of the paintings chosen as masterworks reflect the best of style for a particular region or extremely good imaginative compositions such as #203515.

Jeff Watt [updated 9-2021]

Source Text: 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha:

Toh 438. Namastāraikaviṃśati­stotra. Praise to Tārā with Twenty-One Verses of Homage (Namastāraikaviṃśati­stotra­guṇa­hitasahita, sgrol ma la phyag ’tshal nyi shu rtsa gcig gis bstod pa phan yon dang bcas pa). Degé Kangyur, vol. 81 (rgyud, ca), folios 42.b–43.b.