Description This Buddhist "tangka" (or "thanka," scroll painting) depicts the enlightened Buddha and compassionate goddess Tara, sitting on a lotus in her mountain paradise. Tara navigates men and women across the negative emotions that prevent them from attaining supreme peace and happiness, or "nirvana." Here, Tara replicates herself in order to save devotees from the eight great fears, each of which has a symbolic meaning. Appearing in smaller scale to the left and right of the central goddess, Tara’s eight emanations offer protection from lions (pride), elephants (delusion), fire (hatred), snakes (envy), thieves (false views), imprisonment (greed), floods (lust), and demons (doubt). A Tibetan inscription on the back of the painting indicates that it was the meditational image of the spiritual master Chason Dru-o (d. 1175) of the Kadam order. Another inscription identifies the central image as “The Reting deity,” meaning that Green Tara was the principal deity of the Reting monastery, located in Tibet.
- Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Nepal, and Tibet in the John and Berthe Ford Collection. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong. 2001-2003.
- Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art. Asia Society, New York. 2010.
- Pala Art in Tibet at the Met. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 2014.
Provenance Eleanor Olsen; purchased by Alice Heeramaneck, New Haven, 1967; purchased by John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore, January 1984.
Credit Promised gift of John and Berthe Ford
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