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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Tibetan
Creator Dates/Places: Tibet
Creator Active Place: Tibet
Creator Name-CRT: Tibet
Title: Green Tara
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1280
Creation End Date: 1320
Creation Date: ca. 1300
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: color on canvas
Dimensions: Overall: 52.4cm x 43.2cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1970.156
Credit Line: Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund by exchange, from Doris Wiener Gallery
Context: Green Tara, or Syama Tara, is one of the most popular deities in Tibet. She is a personification of transcendent wisdom (prajna) who offers protection and salvation to her devotees. While she can take on infinite iconographic variants, here she is shownas Astamahabhaya Tara (Protectress from the Eight Great Perils). The perils are painted on both sides of the doorjambs of the architectural shrine in which she is placed. Behind the shrine are seventeen species of the bodhi tree, each characteristic of adifferent buddha, which symbolize their enlightenment and emphasize the Green Tara's role as the mother of all buddhas. The largest of the trees, at the top, with gems instead of fruits, can be identified as the wish-fulfilling tree (kalpa-lata or kalpa-vrksa) (see also 1972.366, where it was depicted in the form of a creeper rather than a tree). The Green Tara is seated on a double-lotus placed on a base decorated with lions and elephants. Above the image is an arch (makara-torana) with the face of glory (kirttimukha) at the top. The arch is supported by rearing rams standing on elephants. Corresponding to it, on the outer wall of the shrine, are upright lions also standing on elephants. The style of painting shows a strong eastern Indian and, at the sametime, Nepalese influence, which not only indicates an early date for the painting when the influence of the Pala style was dominant, but also suggests that the painting belongs to the period when Newari influence in Tibet was particularly strong. Indeed the thirteenth century was such a period, especially when Aniko's studio was active in Tibet and China and when he became much in demand after receiving Kublai Khan's patronage. In fact, the Newari influence is so pronounced in this painting that for the longest time it was attributed to Nepal rather than Tibet. At the bottom of goddess's right hand is an image of the monk who commissioned the painting, whose identity unfortunately remains unknown. On the reverse is an inscription in Tibetan (another indication of the Tibetan origin of this painting), quoting a Buddhist mantra and a poem. No names of patrons or reference to the date or locality of the painting are contained within the inscription. S.C.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1970.156
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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