The Journey

Savior Goddess Tara and Other Deities

  • 28
  • Central Tibet (commissioned, possibly in eastern India, for Reting Monastery)
  • Ca. second half 11th century
  • Distemper on cloth
  • H. 48 x W. 31 1/2 in. (122 x 80 cm)
  • The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, The John and Berthe Ford Collection, F.112

The goddess Tara, born from the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara's tears of compassion, appears in many forms. In this painting, Tara takes the form of Ashtamahabhaya, guide to both pilgrims and merchants. She protects devotees from the Eight Great Perils: disease-causing demons, bandits, stampeding elephants, lions, poisonous snakes, forest fires, flood, and false imprisonment in foreign territories. Four smaller Ashtamahabhayas are depicted on each side of the central image. Tara is simultaneously in the guise of Khadiravani, who lives in the Khadira Forest. The painting bears inscriptions in Tibetan identifying the main icon as "The Reting deity" and as a personal meditational image of the master Chason Dru-o (died 1175) of the Kadam order.

PHOTO CREDIT: © The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland

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