About the Artwork

This delicate black and white painting of White Saptalocana Tara has been innovatively rendered in the style of an early 13th century Newar or Pala-style painting from Eastern India. The palette used in this essentially monochrome painting employs a minimal use of blue, red and sepia pigments that mainly appear on Tara's jewel ornaments and throne.

White Tara (Skt. Sita Tara: Tib. Drol-kar) is the long-life aspect of Tara, the 'Saviouress', who is the well-known Buddhist goddess of mercy and compassion. In her white longevity aspect she is also known as Saptalocana Tara, or 'Seven-eyed' Tara, and is an important yidam or meditational deity in her own right. As one of the three principal Buddhist longevity deities White Tara also frequently appears in a long-life trinity with Amitayus and Ushnishavijaya. Her meditational practices are mainly employed to confer long-life, alleviate illnesses, and to remove the obstacles that are indicative of an untimely death. Thangkas of White Tara and the 'Trinity of Long-Life Deities' are frequently commissioned for such purposes, or to auger an auspicious rebirth for a deceased relative or friend.

White Tara is beautiful, peaceful, and youthful. She sits in vajra-posture upon a white moon disc that rest upon the seed-head of a lotus with double-petals above an ornate throne. She is adorned with seven bow-shaped eyes, with the three eyes of her face representing the perfection of her body, speech and mind, and the four eyes in her palms and soles representing the 'Four Immeasurables' of her boundless compassion, loving kindness, sympathetic joy, and perfect equanimity. With her lowered right hand she makes the boon-granting varada-mudra of supreme generosity, whilst holding the stem of a stylized lotus. And with her left hand she makes the abhaya-mudra of protection or granting refuge, whilst holding the stem of a similar lotus in front of her heart. Both of these lotuses blossom at the level of her shoulders with an open blossom of many petals, a bud, and folded leaves.

Tara's inner aura is decorated with the traditional scrolling roundels of early Newar art, while her outer aura and the rim of her halo are decorated with arabesque foliage and vine-like motifs. The horizontal steps of the throne upon which her lotus seat rests are decorated with jeweled scrolls, pearl and lotus designs, with an upper frieze of roundels that encircle the small images of deer, swans, elephants and two lotuses. The symmetrical façade of her throne's panels reveal the heads and feet of stylized elephants and lions, with inner pillars that depict offering goddesses being supported by small figures, and outer pillars that show elephants with mythical sharabhas (lion-deer) standing upon their backs with lotus flowers above. Behind the throne is the shrine-like base of Tara's torana or 'enlightenment archway', which enshrines the small image of two-armed Ganapati on the right, and two-armed Mahakala-Bhairava on the left.

© text by Robert Beer

Popular Images

About Our Prints


PEM Custom Prints offers exclusive custom reproductions of artworks in the collections of the Peabody Essex Museum. Hand-made in the USA using gallery-quality materials, we create prints as true to the original work as possible, using strict color management protocols and state-of-the-art printing technology.


Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. We are continually adding new artworks to our offering, so be sure to check back regularly as you build your own gallery. A variety of molding styles means our custom framed prints can match any type of decor.

Member Discounts

PEM Members receive their 10% discount for all PEM Custom Prints purchases. Simply enter your valid member number into the form at checkout and the discount will be applied to the items in your cart. Member discounts cannot be combined with other offers.