It is applique of White Tara. Tara in Tibetan Buddhism is a female Bodhisattva. She is also known as the “mother of liberation”, and represents the virtues of success in work and achievements.
Each applique thangka is created using traditional methods and strictly adhering to the proportions of deities as they are laid down in Buddhist scripture. Appliqued thangkas are created using hundreds of hand-cut and embroidered pieces of satin and brocade silk, stitched together with Mongolian horsetail. Each piece is witness to a unique tradition that survives intact to this day.
Tara may more properly be understood as different aspects of the same quality, as bodhisattvas are often considered metaphors for Buddhist virtues. White Tara counteracts illness and thereby helps to bring about a long life. She embodies the motivation that is compassion and is said to be as white and radiant as the moon.
Story Behind Avalokiteshvara and White Tara
Once Avalokiteshvara was absorbed in a profound meditation on the welfare of all beings. Within his peaceful absorption, the painful realization dawned upon him that even if he were to save beings from suffering for an eternity, beings would never cease to be born in the cycle of existence.
Tears of sadness flowed from his eyes, moistening the ground below him. From twenty-one tears, a lotus sprang up, at the heart of which sat a being, white and radiant as a full moon. She said to Avalokiteshvara, “I will be with you to aid you in this unending task.
I will help all those beings who call for your help, protect those who call for your protection, and guide all those who look for your guidance. I will be your eternal friend.” She came to be known as White Tara.
The iconography of White Tara
Here she is depicted seated cross-legged on a lotus. In her left hand, she holds the stem of an utpala lotus which indicates the protection she grants against the eight fears.
Her right-hand rests at her knee in the gesture of generosity. She has seven eyes– three on her face, one on the palm of each hand, and one on the sole of each foot.