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Green Tara or Arya Tara, the goddess of mercy and compassion, is shown here standing gracefully in tribhanga or 'triple-bend' posture upon the silver moon disc of her pink lotus pedestal. She is youthful like a sixteen-year-old and emerald green in colour, with a sweetly smiling face, two gentle bow-shaped eyes, delicate hands and feet, a narrow waist, and two fully rounded breasts with their nipples aroused. A golden dot or tilaka adorns her forehead, she has three gracefully curving folds on her neck, and two folds beneath her breasts. The strands of her long black hair are twisted into braids, with half of the braids bound into a large topknot on the crown of her head, and the other half hanging freely about her shoulders.
A flowing yellow silk sash is draped around her left shoulder and waist, and a long orange-red silk scarf twists around her upper body and falls at her sides before billowing upwards in gracefully looping curves. The pleats of her embroidered red silk skirt billow to her right, and above this skirt she wears an embroidered blue silk apron, which is fastened with entwined silk ribbons that cascade beneath her golden belt. Her belt has a glistening red gemstone at its centre, with golden jewel-studded loops hanging below. Her bracelets, armlets, anklets, ornate necklaces and earrings are all studded with glistening red and blue jewels, white pearls, and some are adorned with white jasmine petals. Her neck choker, earrings and crown are particularly ornate, and beautifully rendered in their precise detail and luminosity. The headband of her crown is delicately strung with loops of shining gemstones and pearls, and has a fresh white lotus at its centre. The five radiant and ornately encased jewels that adorn her golden crown are tipped with jasmine flowers, and the crown is fastened behind her topknot by the yellow silk ribbon that billows behind her earrings.
With her right hand Tara holds the thick stem of a lotus that blossoms in front of her elbow amidst a profusion of leaves and buds. And with her left hand she grasps the thick stem of another climbing lotus that similarly blossoms in a profusion of leaves and colourful buds. Her radiant blue and gold inner aura shimmers behind her body, while her outer aura is composed of golden scrolls that enclose radiant jewels. More leaves, blossoms and buds appear behind her upper aura and halo, with colourful clouds drifting across the dark upper sky and above the snow mountain on the lower right. Her lotus pedestal rests upon the leafy bed of a circular lotus leaf, and the lower landscape is beautified with lakes, hills, rocks and foliage.
This beautiful composition was originally drawn and painted by the great Newar artist, Uday Charan Shrestha in 2010, with the base colours having been applied by his student Madan Kiju.
© text by Robert Beer