Gilt copper alloy with color, inlaid with semiprecious stones; H. 20 1/4 in. (51.4 cm)
Louis V. Bell Fund, 1966 (66.179)
Tara, the Buddhist savioress, is the most important goddess in the Buddhist pantheon. She stands in a hip-shot posture, with her right hand held in a boon-bestowing gesture (varadamudra) and her left raised in a teaching gesture (vitarkamudra). Her body is voluptuous. She is dressed in a long floral printed dhoti and a shawl is draped over her left shoulder, above which a lotus flower blooms. She is richly adorned in jewelry, including a crown, earrings, necklaces, armbands, wide cuffs, a belt, and anklets. The overall impact is one of elegance, refinement, and otherworldlinessan effect enhanced by the light reflecting off the smooth, sparsely adorned gilt-copper surfaces.
Nepali sculpture was greatly influenced by the sculpture of India. This sculpture's emphasis on flowing volume and elegant forms harks back to Pala examples. However, her wide face, large eyes, and pursed mouth are purely Nepalese, as are the elaborate foliate sworls in her crown.