White Tara, gilt copper repoussé statue from Nepal, 18th century; in the Asian Art Museum of —Courtesy of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, The Avery Brundage Collection; photograph, Martin Grayson
In Buddhism, a saviour-goddess with numerous forms. Her worship is widely popular in Nepal, Tibet, and Mongolia. She is the feminine counterpart of Avalokitesvara. She came into existence when his tear fell to the ground and formed a lake; out of its waters rose a lotus, which, on opening, revealed the goddess. She is the protector of navigation and earthly travel, as well as of spiritual travel along the path to enlightenment. In art she typically holds a lotus and has a third eye. She is represented in various colours, signifying different aspects of her powers.