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  • Object type

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  • Description

    Goddess. A standing figure of a female deity (Tārā) solid cast in bronze and gilded. The figure has a high tubular coiffure (jatamukuta) held in place by a medallion flanked by makara-s (water creatures). The medallion was probably set with stones, as were the eyes. The earlobes are elongated and the lower body dressed in a tight-fitting cloth knotted at the hips. The upper body is uncovered. The proper right hand is in varadamudrā (gesture of giving), the left hand in katakahastamudrā (the hand pose wherein the tips of the fingers are applied to the thumb so as to form a ring, as if to hold a flower). The two middle fingers of the right hand are missing as are toes from both feet.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 8thC (circa)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 143 centimetres (not including plinth)
    • Width: 44 centimetres
    • Depth: 29.5 centimetres
  • Bibliography

    • van Lohuizen-de Leeuw 1981 17, p. 25 and colour plate 17 bibliographic details
    • Zwalf 1985 210 bibliographic details
    • MacGregor 2010 54 bibliographic details
    • von Schroeder 1990 73B-D, also p.236. (with an extensive list of further references up to the year 1986) bibliographic details
    • King 2000 frontispiece bibliographic details
  • Location


  • Exhibition history


    1. 'The Art of Ancient Sri Lanka': exhibition at the Commonwealth Institute, London 17 Jul to 13 Sep, 1981. 2. 'Buddhism: Art and Faith': temporary exhibition at the British Museum, London, 1985.

    2010-2011, London, BM/BBC, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    30 November 2000

    Reason for treatment

    Temporary Exhibition

    Treatment proposal

    Clean to improve appearance


    Dull and slightly dirty from handling--it had been on open display.

    Treatment details

    Grease and dirt removed with white spirit.Lightly polished with 'Duraglit'wadding and soft paper tissues.

    About these records 

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    G&R Letters on Antiquities (1757-1834); copy made in November 1847 in BM Central Archives, Original Papers (June 1830). To Mr Henry Ellis (Principal Librarian) from Sir Robert Brownrigg. Reports that the image 'was found in the North East part of Ceylon between Trincomalee and Batticalou'.

  • Department


  • Registration number


COMPASS Title: Gilded bronze figure of Tara;The goddess Tara

COMPASS Title: Gilded bronze figure of Tara;The goddess Tara

Image description



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Object reference number: RRI137

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