Unidentified Four-armed Goddess
Tibet, 14th - 15th century
H: 29 cm; L: 23 cm; W: 16 cm
Tibet Museum, Lhasa
Published: Precious Deposits, vol. 3, pp. 56-57, no. 24; E. F. Lo Bue, Tesori del Tibet: Oggetti d'arte dai Monasteri di Lhasa, pp. 116-118, no. 76; Ulrich von Schroeder, Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet , vol. 2, p. 1040, pl. 260A.
Originally from the Red Palace inside the Potala, this unidentified goddess sits in meditation on a lotus throne placed on a lion pedestal. She has two pairs of hands. The bottom pair is held in the gesture of meditation. The top pair is in the gesture of preaching (dharmachakra mudra), while also holding two stalks of lotus blossoms, supporting a conch (left) and a vase of immortality (right) at shoulder level. The goddess is bedecked with jewels, mainly inlaid turquoise. Her head is enclosed within a cloverleaf halo and the wavy scarves behind her arms add a sense of movement.
In her elaborate ornament, jewel encrusted lower garment, and clover-shaped halo, this figure closely resembles a group of copper repoussé images from Densatil Monastery, a Kagyu establishment founded in the 12th century that was once located in central Tibet. During the 14th and 15th centuries, this region of Tibet was ruled by the Lang family, who generously patronized Densatil.
all images and text © Bowers Museum and Tibet Museum