Dharmapala Thangka CentreSchool of Thangka Painting

Alchi Tara

Wand Malerei im Alchi Kloster - Ladakh

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The original of this unique thangka is a mural from the 11th century in the monastery Alchi in Ladakh in the Indian West Himalaya. It can be found on the left wall of the left niche on the ground floor of the Sumtsek Temple of the monastery.

Most experts interpret the green deity in the center as "six-armed green Tara". In Tibetan iconography, however, no six-armed Tara is known. There are also interpretations which are therefore a representation of Vasudara. However, Vasundara is not represented in a green but always in a yellow body colour.

Manuals of Tibetan Buddhist iconography list numerous manifestations of Tara. Judging from the emblems depicted here, this could be Tara "helping us out of difficulties" [Durgottarini].

the centre, depicted on the white disk of the moon, is the six-armed Green Tara, the Saviouress, placed between the small figures of a yellow-robed monk and a queen. This is a cult scene, as can be seen from the items below the circle like conch-shell trumpets and offerings as well as the outline of a mandala-like altar.

As attributes the goddess is holding a book [pustaka] a speer-shaped hook [ankusha], a rosary [akshamala] and, finally, her actual emblem, the blue lorus-blossom [utpala].

Alongside the central motif are four more manifestations of Tara. The central goddess is shown in front of an opulent throne structure, in the scrolls of which at the top we can see the five Tathagata Buddhas, the figure in the middle being the green Amoghasiddhi as Spiritual "lord" of the family of deities to which Tara, too, belongs.

Due to the size of the painting, it was possible that two painters worked on it at the same time. Thus it was possible to complete the picture in only nine months.

Source: "Alchi - Buddhas - Göttinnen - Mandalas, Wandmalerei in einem Himalaya Kloster, Roger Goepper [Text], Barbara Lutterbeck und Jaroslav Poncar [Fotos], Du Mont Verlag, 1982

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Our Alchi Monasterey Thangkas

Measurements: 35.4 x 43.3" | 90 x 110 cm
High resolution: Display [3.1 MB, 2120 x 3643 px.]