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The Buddhist deity White Tara
Place of Origin: China, Beijing
Date: 1800-1900
Object Name: Thangka
Materials: Ink and colors on cotton
Dimensions: Overall: H. 46 1/2 in × W. 29 1/4 in, H. 118.1 cm × W. 74.3 cm Image: H. 21 5/8 in × W. 17 in, H. 54.9 cm × W. 43.2 cm
Credit Line: Transfer from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Katherine Ball
Department: Himalayan Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: B72D44
On Display: No

Description

Label:

In this precisely executed devotional painting of White Tara,the all-seeing  female  bodhisattva of compassion sits on a white moon-disk, which  glows above the lotus of spontaneous (svayambhu, signifying visionary  or mental) manifestation. Her right hand is in the gesture of gift­ granting (varada-mudra), symbolizing her gift to disciples of spiritual attainments and buddhahood. Her left  hand is in the gesture of dispelling fear (abhaya-mudra), symbolizing her protection of disciples from all danger  and calamity. With eyes on hands, feet, and forehead,the seven-eyed White Tara sees through all appearance  of duality; under these conditions, falsely objective situations can be changed through the subjective means that  truly generate experience.

As is the case with this White Tara, Himalayan paintings operate on both devotional and philosophical levels. Devotionally, Himalayan Buddhists invoke  White Tara for deliverance from a seemingly archaic list of Eight Great Perils: shipwrecks, fires, mad elephants, bandits, pouncing lions, serpents,imprisonment,and demons.

Philosophically, however, each of these concrete perils has a precise psychological analogue that  meditation upon  White Tara's form  is thought to eliminate. Such double meaning is characteristic of the Vajrayana Buddhist systems predominant in the Hirnalayas.


Label:

In this precisely executed devotional painting of White Tara,the all-seeing  female  bodhisattva of compassion sits on a white moon-disk, which  glows above the lotus of spontaneous (svayambhu, signifying visionary  or mental) manifestation. Her right hand is in the gesture of gift­ granting (varada-mudra), symbolizing her gift to disciples of spiritual attainments and buddhahood. Her left  hand is in the gesture of dispelling fear (abhaya-mudra), symbolizing her protection of disciples from all danger  and calamity. With eyes on hands, feet, and forehead,the seven-eyed White Tara sees through all appearance  of duality; under these conditions, falsely objective situations can be changed through the subjective means that  truly generate experience.

As is the case with this White Tara, Himalayan paintings operate on both devotional and philosophical levels. Devotionally, Himalayan Buddhists invoke  White Tara for deliverance from a seemingly archaic list of Eight Great Perils: shipwrecks, fires, mad elephants, bandits, pouncing lions, serpents,imprisonment,and demons.

Philosophically, however, each of these concrete perils has a precise psychological analogue that  meditation upon  White Tara's form  is thought to eliminate. Such double meaning is characteristic of the Vajrayana Buddhist systems predominant in the Hirnalayas.