Tara, Iconographic Forms
Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Wrathful Tara
- Confusions: Ekajati
Video: Mahachina Krama Tara
- Iconographic Description
- Sadhana Collections
Mahachinakrama Tara (Tib.: gya nag gi rim pa drol ma), the 'Tara in the Tradition of Greater China' is believed to have originated in China, or having originated in India and then traveled to China, and later to have returned to India. The Sadhanamala publication (edited version 1925) lists two texts #100, #101. The Drub Thab Gyatso has one text #54. Tara, Mahachina Krama, Black with One Face and Four Hands. The Nartang, Rinjung and Zurkha Gyatsa have no listing for Mahachina Tara. It is possible that other early collections of sadhana texts such as the Patsab Gyatsa, and other less common and less popular compilations, could contain Mahachina texts.
Drub Thab Gyatsa, 57. Mahachinakrama Tara:
"Tara, black, [with] one face and four hands. The first two [hands] hold a curved knife and skullcup. The lower right a sword and the lower left an utpala. [With] three eyes and bared fangs, brown hair bristling upwards, swelling breasts and a belly hanging down. Having a lower garment of tiger skin and adorned with skulls and snakes. Standing on a corpse seat in a manner with the left leg extended." (One Hundred Methods of Accomplishment, Konchog Lhundrub, 1497-1557).
The description of Tara in the Drub Thab Gyatsa is essentially identical to the description of the one faced, four armed, Ekajati from both the same Drub Thab Gyatsa ands the Drub Thab Gyatso (Namkha Chime, edited version). Some differences can be found in artistic examples such as the hair of Ekajati arranged as a single braid while the Mahachina hair is bristling upwards like fire (see example HAR #59963). Sometimes Ekajati is depicted dancing on the left leg with the right leg drawn up (see example HAR #59704).
Drub Thab Gyatsa, 49 Ekajati, [one face, four hands].
Ekajati, [with] a body black in colour, one face and four hands. The first two [hands] hold a curved knife and skullcup. The lower right a sword. The lower left an utpala. [With] three eyes and bared fangs. Brown hair bristling upwards. Swelling breasts and the belly hanging down. Having a lower garment of tiger skin. Adorned with a skull and flower garland and ornaments of blue snakes and small bells, etc. Seated in a manner with the left [leg] extended.
Jeff Watt 11-2022