Green Tara (Primary Title)
thanka (Object Name)
The benevolent savior Green Tara—protector of seekers on the spiritual path—sits on an elaborate Chinese throne in a celestial garden pavilion, flanked by two attendants. She holds her distinctive attribute, the blue lotus, in her left hand, while with her right she bestows blessings upon a kneeling petitioner. The same devotee appears twice more in the painting, presumably earlier in the story. In the lower right corner, she is imperiled by a water monster; at the lower left, inside a small house, she appears to wake from dream. Tara’s walled garden seems to float above the landscape; fantastical clouds and mythic fenghuang (phoenixes) reinforce the scene’s otherworldliness. The painting’s artistic vocabulary and syntax are almost entirely Chinese. Its overall tone, however, especially the vibrant cadence of its colors, is decidedly Tibetan. Whether contemporary or added later, the silks in which the picture is mounted are appropriate to its subject; ____ are auspicious Chinese decorative motifs associated with blessings and longevity.
Gift of Berthe and John Ford
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC
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