Title: Tara (one of the Famed Twenty-one Tara Emanations)
Culture: Central Tibet
Work Type: Figure
Material/Medium: Gilt copper alloy, turquoise, enamel, and coral
Date: Second half of 17th century
Measurements: H x W: 48.3 x 31.8 cm (19 x 12 1/2 in)
Repository: Sackler Gallery 22: Encountering the Buddha
Credit Line: The Alice S. Kandell Collection
Collection: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Description: “Tara” is a sculpture that depicts a Buddhist goddess adorned in turquoise and coral jewels and is seated upon a lotus throne. Tara is displayed with her legs slightly crossed and with her right hand holding an offering cup with a turquoise flower and her left hand raised to her chest-level with her index finger touching her thumb. The head of the figure is decorated with a turquoise crown that resembles a lotus flower and a turquoise dot is placed between her eyes. Tara’s countenance is relaxed and serene with both of her eyes looking down and her mouth slightly upturned in a soft smile. Additionally, two large flowers with turquoise and coral jewels are placed next to both of her arms.

Analysis: Adorning the figure in turquoise and coral jewels as well a lotus-like crown essentially elevates the social standing of the woman depicted indicating that she is a Buddhist goddess. The turquoise dot on Tara’s head further evinces that she is a goddess since she has a third eye and has reached enlightenment. The figure also evinces that she has reached enlightenment since her posture is in the lotus position and her facial expression evinces that she is in a meditative state. The figure additionally highlights that she is a goddess since her right foot appears closer to the ground indicating that her role is to assist those on Earth on their journey to reach enlightenment by following the Eightfold Path.

Tara (one of the Famed Twenty-one Tara Emanations), Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Author: Sofia Di Scipio

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