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White Tara

  • Object:

    Figure

  • Place of origin:

    Tibet (made)

  • Date:

    16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gilded copper, cast by the cire perdue process, set with garnets, turquoise (blue and green), rock crystal (reverse painted red), and green and blue transparent glass.

  • Museum number:

    IM.28-1919

  • Gallery location:

    Buddhism, Room 18, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Galleries of Buddhist Art, case 1

Physical description

White Tara ('white saviouress'), goddess of purity and transcendant wisdom, is the consort of the fourth Dhyani Buddha. She is seated with legs crossed and soles facing upward in meditation pose. Her raised right hand is in vitarka mudra, her left rests on her left knee. The thumb and first finger of each hand are touching. She wears the thirteen ornaments of a Bodhisattva and the scarf of divinity. Nearly all these ornaments are enriched with precious stones, particularly the elaborate tiara and the lotus earrings. She is nude to the waist, but wears a skirt. In the forehead is turquoise symbolising the eye of foreknowledge and in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet is the eight-petalled lotus with the seed-capsule replaced by the Chinese yin-yang symbol (ie: the creative monad dividing into its male and female elements). Behind each upper arm is a lotus stem terminating in a full-blown lotus with prominent seed capsule.

Place of Origin

Tibet (made)

Date

16th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Gilded copper, cast by the cire perdue process, set with garnets, turquoise (blue and green), rock crystal (reverse painted red), and green and blue transparent glass.

Dimensions

Height: 76.2 cm Figure, Width: 56 cm Figure, Height: 172.7 cm Torana, Width: 114.3 cm Torana

Descriptive line

Seated White Tara, gilt copper, garnets, turquoise, rock crystal (reverse painted red), glass. Nepal, 16th century, Malla dynasty

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Orientations; vol. 40. no. 4; May 2009; The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum.
Cam Sharp Jones, Interpreting the Iconography of Tara in Sculptural form. p.65

Labels and date

White Tara
1650–1700
Nepal
Malla dynasty
Gilded copper
White Tara is one of the most revered and loved
bodhisattvas in Tibet. Here, she is shown with her
usual symbols, two open lotus flowers on stalks,
one behind each shoulder. Her right hand makes the
gesture of teaching a point of doctrine (vitarka mudra).
Museum no. IM.28-1919 [1/4/2009]

Materials

Copper; Gilt; Brass; Wood; Turquoise; Ruby; Emerald; Topaz

Techniques

Gilded

Categories

Sculpture; Religion; Metalwork; Buddhism

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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