UNUSUAL SILK EMBROIDERED THANGKA OF WHITE TARA, CHINA, PROBABLY MID-20TH CENTURY
The goddess of longevity surrounded by a variegated
aureole painted in tones of blue and yellow and seated on
a lotus emanating from clouds, top crowned with a central
shakyamuni flanked by a stupa and a dragon, 38.4” x 46.5” — 97.5 x 118 cm.
Thangkas are traditionally portable Tibetan Buddhist
paintings on cloth that originated from as early as the 8th
or 9th Century. With the growth of Buddhism in China
during the Ming Dynasty, artists started producing
embroidered thangkas, thus showcasing the cultural
exchange between Tibetans and the Han-Chinese. During
the Yongle reign (1403-1424), the imperial workshop
began producing embroidered thangkas for the emperor’s
private shrines, or as diplomatic gifts for Tibetan Gurus.
One such example was sold in Christie’s Hong Kong,
Highly Important Imperial Embroidered Silk Thangka’
November 26, 2014, lot 3001. Though considerably later,
the current example follows the tradition of embroidered
thangkas passed down through Chinese history.