Tibet, 15th Century
Seated in lalitasana, Green Tara’s face is depicted with compassionate, downcast eyes, surmounted by a five-leaf crown, symbolizing the five Dhyani Buddhas, holding back her wavy locks. The crown, necklaces and bracelets are all enhanced with turquoise inlays. The deity’s right foot is supported on a small lotus flower issuing from the double lotus platform beneath her. Her right hand is gesturing in varada mudra (depicting a gift bestowing sign of compassion and charity), and her left hand in vitaka mudra (depicting argument), with lotus blossoms flanking her arms.
Tara, meaning ‘she who helps to cross’, is a protective deity portrayed as the female counterpart of Avalokiteshvara. She is said to have been born from Avalokiteshvara’s tears, as a peaceful sign of compassion – White Tara from his right eye and Green Tara from his left eye. White Tara embodies knowledge and purity while Green Tara is more dynamic, leaping out to save others.
There are at least five different coloured Taras – green, white, red, yellow and blue – each representing a form that corresponds to the Five Dhyani Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism. Green Tara is associated with the Amoghasiddhi Buddha, who transforms the green poison of envy into the positive energy of wisdom.