On Friday (Day 8) we chose Tara the Buddhist goddess. Poor Tara’s arm fell off soon after she was printed and her ankles snapped when we tried to remove her from her RFID plinth. But a little bit of superglue got her back to normal.
We were intrigued by her gesture – interpreted as ‘giving’. Our display for Tara was rather under-developed…we found there was a distinct Friday feeling to the day, lots of chats and quite a bit of fizz. Perhaps the most appropriate gesture for the day would have been a clink of glasses and a Cheers.
Her right hand is in varadamudrā, the gesture of giving. It would be cool to think of other gestures we can understand from a static view…thumbs up…f-off…
What’s missing? There’s a big hole in her headdress, surrounded by little holes. The little holes might have been inlaid with precious stones. And the big hole probably contained a small seated image of the Buddha Amitabha who is considered to be the ‘parent’ Buddha for both Avalokiteshvara and Tara. And it looks like she was holding something in her left hand…maybe a lotus flower.
She was made in Sri Lanka, found somewhere between Trincomalee and Batticaloa.
Currently displayed in Room 33, Ground Floor at the British Museum
She was made in about the 8th century
Acquired by the British Museum in 1830
Gold and bronze
Height: 143 cm
Width: 44 cm
Depth: 29.5 cm
Top four images © Trustees of the British Museum
Let us know if you spot any clangers.