- dated 1864
- Pigments on cloth
- Catalog Number
- F1996.18.1 (HAR 468)
- Rubin Museum of Art
- Gift of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation
Sitatapatra, a female Buddhist deity associated with protection and the prevention of obstacles in everyday life, is equipped with ten million eyes that watch over those in need. She carries a white parasol symbolizing benevolent protection, and the various implements in her thousand hands each signify a specific benefit. She tramples personifications of overcome obstacles under her feet.
An inscription at the bottom of the painting records that it was commissioned in 1864 in Tibet by a loving husband—likely a Newar of the Kathmandu Valley—on behalf of and in honor of his late wife, Lakshmi. This commission was intended to increase merit for the deceased and remove obstacles to ensure a better rebirth in her next life.
Ritual informs the structure of religious life in the Himalayas, defining the daily routine of practitioners and shaping a range of community-based activities.
Religious rituals and the commissioning of art can serve everyday secular needs, the most common being wealth, health, and long life.
Tantric practitioners strive to transform themselves by using meditative and ritual tools with the ultimate goal of enlightenment or awakening.
Many Himalayan paintings serve as illustrations and instructional tools that bring forth stories about the Buddha, Tibetan masters, and more.
Instructive paintings can illustrate religious doctrines, medical and astrological charts, or images of ritual implements and meditative postures.