15th century Tibetan bronze figure of a White Tara
29th May 2020
This 15th century Tibetan bronze figure of a white Tara is part of the Jameson J. Wood Asian Art Collection. This collection will be sold in the summer of 2020 at Hessink’s.
The White Tara (Sanskrit: Sitatara; Tibetan: Sgrol-dkar) was incarnated as the Chinese princess. She is associated with longevity and symbolizes purity. She counteracts illness and thereby helps to bring about a long life. She embodies the motivation that is compassion and is said to be as white and radiant as the moon. She is often represented standing at the right hand of her consort, Avalokiteshvara, or seated with legs crossed, holding a full-blown lotus. She is generally shown with a third eye.
Tara the "Mother of all Buddhas," Tibetan Sgrol-ma, is the Buddhist saviour-goddess with numerous forms. She is the feminine counterpart of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. According to popular belief, she came into existence from a tear of Avalokiteshvara, which fell to the ground and formed a lake. Out of its waters rose a lotus, which, on opening, revealed the goddess. Like Avalokiteshvara, she is a compassionate, succouring deity who helps men “cross to the other shore.” She is the protectress of navigation and earthly travel, as well as of spiritual travel along the path to enlightenment.
In Tibet she is believed to be incarnate in every pious woman, and the two wives—a Chinese princess and a Nepali princess—of the first Buddhist king of Tibet, Srong-brtsan-sgam-po, were identified with the two major forms of Tara. The White and Green Taras, with their contrasting symbols of the full-blown and closed lotus, are said to symbolize between them the unending compassion of the deity who labours both day and night to relieve suffering.