Amoghasiddhi, the Buddha of the Northern Pure Land

Date: ca. 1200–50

Culture: Central Tibet

Medium: Distemper on cloth

Dimensions: 27 1/8 x 21 1/4 in. (68.9 x 54 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Philanthropic Fund Gift, 1991

Accession Number: 1991.74


Amoghasiddhi is one of the five Transcendent Buddhas who preside over the heavens of the cardinal directions, his realm being to the north. In this context he is identifiable by his green color. The five Taras below are likely the consorts of this cosmic group; the green one relates specifically to the central deity. Amoghasiddhi, who sits on a lotus throne surrounded by bodhisattvas, holds his right hand in abhaya mudra, a gesture that extends protection to devotees. The style of this tangka is indebted to twelfth-century eastern Indian painting traditions of the Pala period, as reflected in the dominant central figure and numerous descriptive details. The pointed crowns of the bodhisattvas relate this image to the wall painting tradition of Drathang monastery at Shalu, Central Tibet.