Paintings for the Panchen Lama's temple at Jehol (Chengde)

Artist/maker unknown, Tibetan

Made in Chengde (Jehol), Inner Mongolia, China, Asia

Qianlong Period (1736-1795)


Colors on cloth; cloth mounting

Image: 44 1/2 × 27 1/2 inches (113 × 69.9 cm) Mount: 63 1/2 × 35 inches (161.3 × 88.9 cm) Frame: 70 × 41 1/4 × 2 1/4 inches (177.8 × 104.8 × 5.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

* Gallery 225, Asian Art, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Natacha Rambova, 1959

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With eight arms and multicolored faces, Sitapatra (She of the White Parasol) dominates the center of this painting. Above hovers her parasol, believed to physically and spiritually protect everyone it shelters. In her many hands are pairs of symbolic objects: a pronged ritual implement (vajra) and a wheel (chakra) signify Buddhist teachings; a bow and arrow symbolize the union of wisdom and method (how to properly aim wisdom); and a noose and goad represent guided mindfulness (just as a handler might use a lasso and a goad to direct an animal). Sitapatra was a popular figure in rites promoting longevity, especially during the reign of the Chinese Emperor Qianlong. The smaller images of Amitayus (top center) and the White and Green Taras (bottom corners) are also connected with long-life rituals.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.