Tibet, White Tara (6)

13th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper or copper alloy, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

The deity is seated on a Nepalese-style lotus base with broad petals, her body and faced are gilt but not the lower garment or the pedestal. She has a third eye (not an urna) on her forehead. Her right hand displays the gesture of generosity, the other holds the stem of a lotus.

17th century, Tibet or Mongolia, Tara, wood, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The eyes in the palm of her hands  and on her forehead and the fact that her legs are in the vajra position tell us this is White Tara. The left hand is held to hold a (missing) flower.

17th century, Tibet, gilt c.a., private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On this variant, Tara’s left hand does the teaching gesture while holding the (broken) stem of a blue lotus. The tip of her right thumb touches the tip of the forefinger to display knowledge.

First half of the 18th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy repoussé and separately cast parts, stone inlay and pigments, at the Freer and Sackler galleries in Washington DC (USA).

We saw an 18th century Green Tara with a similar type of necklace and cut out lotus recently, both from the same museum. This one has a lower crown which shows her top knot supporting a lotus and flaming jewel finial.

Same, gilt copper and stones, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

An odd mixture of broad shoulders and an exaggeratedly thin waist and elongated torso (the latter recalling 15th century Xuande Ming dynasty works) contrasting with an undersized head. She wears a shawl over her shoulders and a long and ample silk lower garment. The tip of her middle finger on her left hand presses the tip of the thumb, a gesture to ward off evil (in Tibet it is usually seen on wrathful deities holding a lasso).

18th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, private collection photo by Capriaquar on http://www.asianart.com

A small figure with painted facial features including bushy eyebrows, the hem of her garment and scarf decorated with large beading, the lotuses fastened to her elbows, her left hand doing the gesture to bestow refuge (the tip of the ring finger touching the tip of the thumb).

 

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Tibet, White Tara (5)

12th century circa, Central Tibet, Tara, stone, at the Art Institute of Chicago (USA).

12th century circa, Central Tibet, Tara, stone, at the Art Institute of Chicago (USA).

White Tara holds the stems of lotuses, one of them in full bloom. She is dressed in a striped dhoti and adorned with a five-leaf crown and heavy jewellery.

16th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie's.

16th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

She normally holds her right hand palm out, to display the gesture of supreme generosity.

16th-c-tibet-tara-gilt-c-a-stones-191-cm-close-up-christies

On this example, the left hand does refuge-bestowing gesture. She is adorned with a crown, belt and jewellery richly inlaid with turquoise, lapis lazuli and coral, even the rectangular urna on her forehead is inlaid with turquoise. Her hair is dyed with lapis lazuli powder.

 

Same as before.

Same as before.

 

Tibet, White Tara (4)

15th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

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

This richly gilt sculpture depicts White Tara seated on a Yongle-style lotus base, her hair arranged sideways, a sash tightly drawn across her chest and back, her right hand displaying supreme generosity, the other hand bestowing refuge – with the tip of the ring finger touching the tip of the thumb. This gesture ( kartari mudra) is often confused with the other gesture that White Tara may commonly display, whereby the tip of the forefinger touches the tip of the thumb (vitarka mudra).

Same as before.

Same as before.

On this Chinese-style work, the left hand doesn’t display either of these gestures, the tip of the thumb is met by the tip of the middle finger.

15th-c-tibet-tara-gilt-c-a-not-vitarka-christies

This is the gesture for bestowing patience (shuni mudra).

Same as before, private collection, published on the-saleroom.com.

Same as before, private collection, published on the-saleroom.com.

Another example of White Tara displaying this gesture with her left hand.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Tara, brass with cold gold and pigments, silk apron and collar, at the British Museum in London (UK).

17th-18th century, Tibet, Tara, brass with cold gold and pigments, silk apron and collar, at the British Museum in London (UK).

 

Tibet, White Tara (3)

15th century circa, Tibet, Tara, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, published by Rossi & Rossi.

15th century circa, Tibet, Tara, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, published by Rossi & Rossi.

White Tara is seated in the vajra position on a double-lotus base, framed by two lotuses, adorned with jewellery and a celestial scarf, wearing a richly incised lower garment held in place with a belt.

15th-c-cir-tibet-tara-c-a-silcop-177-cm-lotusvarada-7-eyes-3rd-eyeon-palms-and-soles-close-up

She has a third eye on her face

15th-c-cir-tibet-tara-c-a-silcop-177-cm-lotusvarada-7-eyes-3rd-eyeon-palms-and-soles-detail

and an eye in the palm of her hands and the sole of her feet, all inlaid with silver and copper.

16th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

16th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Her right hand is held in the gesture of supreme generosity, the left hand is held in the gesture for bestowing refuge.

16th century, Tibet, Tara, copper alloy, Werner Forman Archive.

16th century, Tibet, Tara, copper alloy, Werner Forman Archive.

The lotus to her left is often a blue lotus (utpala), which is never fully open.

 

Tibet, White Tara (2)

12th-13th century, Tibet, Tara, copper alloy, private collection, published by Rossi&Rossi.

12th-13th century, Tibet, Tara, copper alloy, private collection, published by Rossi&Rossi.

Probably made by a Nepalese artist in Tibet, this sculpture depicts White Tara, her right hand held in the varada mudra (supreme generosity), her left hand doing the vitarka mudra (debate, teaching), framed by two lotuses, coiffed with a Thakuri-style crown consisting of three tall foliate panels, matching armbands, a plain sash across her breast, a necklace with a pendant normally associated with Manjushri but seen on other sculptures made in Nepal or by Nepalese artists in Tibet around the 12th century. The double row of broad flat petals on the lotus base is typical of Nepalese works. The bows sticking out on the side of the crown are borrowed from Indian art and the square face is typically Tibetan. There are traces of cold gold on her soft facial features. White Tara has an eye incised on the palm of her hands and on the soled of her feet.

14th century circa, Tibet, Tara, brass inlaid with silver and copper, photo by Christie's.

14th century circa, Tibet, Tara, brass inlaid with silver and copper, photo by Christie’s.

This White Tara wears a low tiara, two necklaces, large armbands and a very ornate floral belt. She has a small oval face framed by two very large hoops. Her body has unrealistic proportions, with a thin waist and full breasts that recall Indian sculptures.

14th-15th century, Tibet, White Tara,  brass with cold gold on face, lapis lazuli in hair, red pigment on lips, inlaid turquoise, 14,5 cm, private collection

14th-15th century, Tibet, White Tara, brass with turquoise inlay and pigments, private collection.

Unlike the previous two, this sculpture has a shorter and stockier body. Her face has been painted with cold gold and pigments in the Tibetan fashion. She has a conical chignon.

 

 

Tibet, White Tara

On sculptures, what differentiates the green from the white form of Tara is that the latter sits in the vajra position.

14th century, Tibet, Tara, brass, photo by Christie's.

14th century, Tibet, Tara, brass, photo by Christie’s.

This Tara sits on an Indian Pala-style double-lotus base, her hands making symbolical gestures or mudras. She holds a long-stemmed lotus with her left hand, her celestial scarf forms an arch behind her, passes under her arms and flows upwards instead of resting on her knees. She has a wide moon-like face, with no urna and a gaze that recalls Chinese sculptures but her very slender waist and opulent bosom are typical of Indian representations of female deities. The ends of her transparent lower garment are pleated under her ankles.

14th century, Central Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy, at the Canada Art Gallery.

14th century, Central Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, at the Royal Ontario Museum.

On the above picture, her dhoti is finely incised with a floral motif and held in place with a belt decorated with lotus flowers, the ends of the garment are arranged into a soft scallop shape under her ankles.

14th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper, at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

14th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper, at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

The face of this statue has been painted with cold gold and pigments. The edges of her garments are inlaid with copper, her crown and jewellery are richly inlaid with stones. She sits on a very ornate throne supported by two lions and decorated with scrolls and a motif inlaid with stones.