Title:Sgrol-maArtist:Artist UnknownDate:1723-1735Creation Place:Asia, ChinaCredit Line:Gift of Mrs. Augustus L. SearleAccession Number:36.5.1a-c
Along with the White Tara, the Green Tara, as goddess of mercy and consort to Avalokitesvara, is one of the most popular deities of Tibetan Buddhism. A well-known legend links both of these goddesses to the pious wives of the seventh century Tibetan Buddhist king Songs-bstan Sgam-po. The story describes the king as an incarnation of the great bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, his Nepalese queen as that of the Green Tara, and his Chinese queen as that of the White Tara.
This imperial jade image testifies to the high regard given Lamaist Buddhism in China during the eighteenth century. The Ch'ien-lung emperor (1736-95), an avid follower of Tibetan Buddhism, commissioned the construction of thousands of Indian-style reliquary mounds (chortens) and monasteries throughout China, Manchuria, Mongolia, and Tibet.