Tibet, Green Tara – variants

11th century, Tibet, Tara or Prajnaparamita, stone with pigments, repainted, at the Asia Society Museum.

11th century, Tibet, Tara or Prajnaparamita, stone with pigments, repainted, at the Asia Society Museum.

Green Tara always sits with a leg pendant (usually the right one), the foot resting on a lotus bud. Her hands may display the ‘turning the wheel of the law ‘ gesture, as above. On this sculpture, she sits on a lotus supported by female deities, over a stepped plinth with lions and various figures carved at the front. She wears a festooned tiara with rosettes and ribbons, jewellery, a sash tightly drawn across her chest and a long dhoti, both painted blue.

13th century circa, Tibet, Tara, brass with cold gold over silver wash on face, blue pigment in hair, at the Harvard University Museum.

13th century circa, Tibet, Tara, brass with cold gold over silver wash on face, blue pigment in hair, at the Harvard University Museum.

Another Indian-style work showing her with a similar hair arrangement and the same hand gesture, on a lotus base supported by two female deities, over a stepped plinth with a thickly beaded rim.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Tara, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Koller.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Tara, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Koller.

Alternatively, her right hand does the gesture of supreme generosity while the other hand holds the stem of a lotus and displays another mudra, such as the gesture for bestowing refuge (above) …

14th century, Southern Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy, red pigment, stone inlay, at the Art Institute of Chicago (USA).

14th century, Southern Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy, red pigment, stone inlay, at the Art Institute of Chicago (USA).

or the vitarka mudra, a gesture which signifies debate or discussion.

12th century, Tibet, Tara, hollow cast brass, turquoise inlay, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

12th century, Tibet, Tara, hollow cast brass, turquoise inlay, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

or the gesture for bestowing patience, with the tip of the middle finger pressing the tip of the thumb.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Tara, copper allowy with turquoise inlay, Walter Arader collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Tara, copper allowy with turquoise inlay, Walter Arader collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

Instead of doing the varada mudra, her right hand may do a similar gesture but with the tip of the thumb pressing the tip of the forefinger, which signifies knowledge (jnana mudra).

13th-14th century, Tibet, Tara, copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Tara, copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

She does not normally display the fear-allying gesture with her right hand, but the position of her legs and the lotus in her left hand tell us that this is Green Tara. She is adorned with a festooned tiara with showy tripartite bows, jewellery, a thin sash with one end resting over her left shoulder. Her ample lower garment is decorated with an incised foliate pattern and forms a harmonious row of pleats under her legs.

14th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

14th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

On this example, the right hand is held palm downwards, the stem of a lotus passes over the thumb.

 

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