Tara is the female manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. White Tara is particularly associated with long life and the removing of sickness. She holds a blooming white lotus flower in her left hand and extends her right hand in the “giving” gesture. In this thangka White Tara appears is surrounded by scenes representing the eight perils, from which she protects and saves those who call on her. The eight perils, shown from the upper right in clockwise order, are: 1) shipwreck and drowning; 2) bandits; 3) ghosts; 4) robbers and kidnappers; 5) execution; 6) wild elephants; 7) earthquake; 8) snakes. Each is accompanied by its own small White Tara with a large, translucent halo and seated on a lotus.


  • Title: White Tara
  • Date Created: 19th century
  • Physical Dimensions: 29 1/4 x 21 1/8 in.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Rubin Museum of Art, C2006.66.524
  • Medium: Ground mineral pigment on cotton
  • Place of Creation: Eastern Tibet
  • Exhibition History: Rubin Museum of Art, "The Place of Provenance: Regional Styles" (10/12/12 - 2013), Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., "Lama, Patron, Artist: The Great Situ Panchen" (03/13/10 - 07/18/10), Rubin Museum of Art, "Patron and Painter: Situ Panchen and the Revival of the Encampment Style" (02/06/09 - 08/17/09), Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA, "Aesthetics of the Sacred: The Buddhist Art of Tibet" (05/04/07 - 08/04/07), Rubin Museum of Art, "Female Buddhas: Women of Enlightenment in Himalayan Art" (06/04/05 - 01/16/06)

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