Skip Navigation

Green Tara

Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, Southwest, 2nd floor
This monumental image of Green Tara is one of the earliest known depictions of the goddess. Tara’s soft, swaying form and easy smile associate her with a tradition of mother-goddess images that has been prevalent in South Asia for millennia. This sculpture was made for a Buddhist monastery in the region of eastern India where many of the teachings that would make up esoteric Buddhism first emerged. The small figure of a four-armed goddess at the lower right is usually identified as Ekajata, or Blue Tara. Early tantric practices emphasized the importance of female energy, as embodied in this slightly fierce subsidiary figure.
MEDIUM Khondalite or gneiss
DATES 8th century
DIMENSIONS 67 3/8 x 26 x 17 1/2 in., 1109 lb. (171.2 x 66 x 44.5 cm, 503.04kg)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Carll H. de Silver Fund and Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Just under life size female figure, carved in high relief, standing on a low rectangular lotus pedestal, and backed by a thick slab that once curved above her head, but now is partially broken off. Coarse brownish stone now roughened through weathering. At the figure's proper right kneels the very small figure of a worshipper with hands clasped in adoration. At the other side is a four-armed female figure holding symbols. Her right hand is extended downward with palm outward in the varada mudra or gesture of charity. A rosette is impressed on the palm, and there is a lotus behind. The left hand, which once held the stem of a lotus, which grows from behind the little four armed figure and extends upwards in high relief against the slab, is now broken off. The figure stands with the right leg bent, but with the head apparently erect, a pose known as samabhanga. She has her hair done in a high chignon (karanda mukuta) and wears across her forehead a jeweled band. There is a different earring (kundala) in each ear. She also wears a simple necklace (mala), armlets (keyura), bracelets (kankana), a breast band, a tightly clinging skirt that hangs from the waist (dhoti), anklets (nupura) and the sacred thread (yajnopavita), in this case a triple jeweled chain. Behind her head is a nimbus (sirascakra). The surface of the stone is weathered. The top of the back slab, the left hand and the lotus it was holding are broken off. The nose of the main figure is missing and the right breast is damaged. The right earring is also broken. Traces of red paint adhere to the forehead. The back of the slab has been rubbed in some places. The statue has not yet been identified at time of cataloguing. It was evidently one of the saktis, or female counterparts of the male gods in the Hindu pantheon, but which was not yet sure. The Buddhist goddess Tara appears in many forms. As Green Tara, she is associated with the Buddha Amoghasiddi. In this popular form, she is said to rescue her followers from danger. Green Tara is ichnographically represented holding a closed blue lotus. Her right hand is in the gift-bestowing gesture and at her feet are a devotee and Ekajata, a multi-armed attendant. Ekajata holds a noose in her lower left hands and holds her right lower right in varada mudra (palm out, in gesture of wish-granting). her upper hands hold a goad (ankusa) and a bell (ghanta).
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, Southwest, 2nd floor
CAPTION Green Tara, 8th century. Khondalite or gneiss, 67 3/8 x 26 x 17 1/2 in., 1109 lb. (171.2 x 66 x 44.5 cm, 503.04kg). Brooklyn Museum, Carll H. de Silver Fund and Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund, 60.138. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 60.138_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 60.138_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.