Central Asia, Tibet, ca. 19th century CE. An excellent cast-brass figure of the Green Tara (Shyamatara), a mother goddess who offers protection from all dangers. She is seated in a half-lotus position atop a tiered lotus base with her right leg hanging off, and presents her hands in the varamudra gesture of offering of her assistance to her faithful followers. Her feminine figure is accentuated with elegantly flowing garments adorned with elaborate finery like necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. Sensitive almond-shaped eyes, a petite nose, slender lips, and tall ears constitute her countenance, and her head is topped with an elaborate headdress. Traces of gold-hued paint are still visible on her face and suggest just how opulent this figure would have appeared when first created. Size: 2.375" W x 4" H (6 cm x 10.2 cm).
According to Buddhist teachings, Tara was born out of the tears of compassion of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who wept as he observed the suffering of worldly beings, his tears formed a lake from which a lotus sprung. When the lotus opened, the goddess Tara was within. Shyamatara or the Green Tara protects believers from the eight great dangers - lions, elephants, snakes, fire, thieves, water, demons, and prisons or the government. In Buddhism, Tara (Sanskrit for star) is a savior goddess. In Tibet, she is the most important deity and her name is Sgrol-ma or Shyamatara (she who saves). She is also popular in Nepal and Mongolia. Tara is the goddess of supreme compassion, said to be stronger than a mother's love for her children. In addition, Tara is said to bring about longevity, protect earthly travel, and guard followers on their spiritual journey to enlightenment.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-Kapil Jariwala Gallery, London, England, United Kingdom
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Minor abrasions to base, body, head, and verso, with losses and fading to original gold-hued pigment, and light softening to some finer details, otherwise intact and excellent. Light earthen deposits within some recessed areas, and great brown patina throughout. Old inventory label beneath base.