Tara, the Buddhist Savior

Period: Malla period

Date: 14th century

Culture: Nepal (Kathmandu Valley)

Medium: Gilt copper alloy with color, inlaid with semiprecious stones

Dimensions: H. 23 1/4 in. (59.1 cm); H. incl. base 26 in. (66 cm); W. 10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm); D. 5 in. (12/7 cm); Wt. 23 lbs (10.4 kg)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Louis V. Bell Fund, 1966

Accession Number: 66.179


Tara, the supreme Buddhist saviouress, grants boons to devotees with her outstretched lower hand delicately clasping a flower bud. A lotus in full bloom adorns her shoulder. She is richly bejeweled, her openwork diadem inset with turquoise and semiprecious stones. In Vajrayana Buddhism, Tara is often presented as the spiritual counterpart to Avalokiteshvara and shares with him a premier role in Tibet as a compassionate protectress. Tara appears in many forms, of which Sitatara, the White Tara, who displays a lotus (padma), was the most popular. It is likely Sitatara who is represented here, the embodiment of perfected wisdom and wish-fulfilling granter of boons.