Tara, early Malla period

14th c., Nepal, Tara, brass, 11,5 cm, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

14th c., labelled Nepal, Tara, brass, 11,5 cm, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This figure depicts White Tara doing the vitarka mudra with her right hand and holding a lotus bud in the other. She is adorned with large floral earrings, beaded jewellery and a matching belt but no sash. The doll-like hips and legs, the use of brass, the facial features  and the earrings are reminiscent of earlier West Tibetan sculptures and suggest this may have been made in Tibet.

14th c., Nepal, Tara, brass, back, Naftalis

She wears a thin celestial scarf over her left shoulder and a lower garment that flares at the sides in the Nepalese fashion.

14th century, Nepal, Taral ,gilt copper alloy and gemstones, private collection, photo by Koller.

14th century, Nepal, labelled Tara or Lakshmi, gilt copper alloy and gemstones, private collection, photo by Koller.

The aquiline nose, small v-shaped mouth, pointed chin, broad forehead, full bosom and ornate crown and jewellery of this goddess are typical of the Nepalese Malla period. She holds the stem of a lotus with her right hand and does the gesture of supreme generosity with the other, two features associated with White Tara, who often has a semi-closed eye incised in the palm of her hands and on the soles of her feet.

14th c., Nepal, Tara, gilt c.a.+gems, 31 cm, detail, Koller

On other occasions the symbol is a diamond with a circle and/or a dot at the centre ( the 8-point star related to the Hindu goddess Lakshmi is made of two squares), the above also has incisions around.

15th century circa, Nepal, Tara, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

15th century circa, Nepal, Tara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

As we move towards the fifteenth century, the accessories are more showy and Tara very often has lotus on the other side as well.

Mid fifteenth century, Nepal, goddess, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, at the Norton Simon Museum (USA).

Mid fifteenth century, Nepal, goddess, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, at the Norton Simon Museum (USA).

This is probably Green Tara, seated with a leg unfolded, doing the vitarka mudra with her left hand while holding the stem of a large lotus flower in it.

15th c., Nepal, goddess, gilt c.a.+gems, 30,5 cm, stalk in hand, Norton Simon

Her right hand does the jnana mudra (gesture of wisdom) and holds the stem of another large flower. The palm is incised with the geometrical pattern described above. The folds of her dhoti form a very elegant scallop under her left foot.

 

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