Green Tara Dispensing Boons to Ecstatic Devotees: Folio from a Manuscript of the Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom)
early 12th century
India, West Bengal or Bangladesh
Opaque watercolor on palm leaf
Page: 2 3/4 x 16 7/16 in. (7 x 41.8 cm)
Image: 2 1/2 x 1 15/16 in. (6.4 x 4.9 cm)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2001
Not on view
Tara, a bodhisattva of compassion and protection, is shown dispensing boons to the surrounding devotees, as indicated by her lower hand held in varada mudra. From the tips of her fingers she drips nectar into the mouth of the hungry ghost (preta) who sits below, his belly swollen because of starvation. Unlike the male bodhisattvas in palm-leaf illuminations, she is presented in a dynamic twisting posture that emphasizes the volumes of her body and shows clear connections with the larger pan-Indian goddess traditions.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Early Buddhist Manuscript Painting: The Palm-Leaf Tradition," July 29, 2008–March 22, 2009.
Zurich. Museum Rietberg. "1100–1900: The 40 Greatest Masters of Indian Painting," May 1, 2011–August 21, 2011.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Wonder of the Age: Master Painters of India, 1100–1900," September 26, 2011–January 8, 2012.