Shrine of one of the Celestial Budhisuktis (or Taras) at the base of the Temple of Adi Buddha at Sambhunath. April 1854
Artist: Oldfield, Henry Ambrose (1822-1871)
Watercolour of a shrine at the base of the Temple of Adi Buddha at Swayambhunath in Nepal, by Henry Ambrose Oldfield (1822-1871), dated April 1854. The image is inscribed on the reverse: 'Shrine of one of the Celestial Budhisuktis (or Taras) at the base of the Temple of Adi Buddha at Sambhunath. April 1854'.
Dr Oldfield, who was Residency Surgeon at Khatmandu from 1850-1863, wrote in Volume II of his 'Sketches from Nipal, Historical and Descriptive...' (1880): "Round the base of the hemisphere or mound of the temple and built partly into its plinth, opposite the four cardinal points, are five large shrines, covered with copper-gilt, and each of which contains a gilt image, rather larger than life size, of one of the divine Buddhas...Midway between the shrines of the Buddhas are five smaller and simpler shrines, sacred to their Taras or Buddhisatkis. The shrine of each Tara is placed on the left side of that of her lord....Each shrine contains a stone slab, in the centre of which is carved a pointed arched triangle, which is regarded as an emblem of the goddess and worshipped accordingly. On the pedestal of this slab, or else on the sides and base of the shrines, the respective supporters of the Taras are either carved in stone, or mould in copper-gilt. The slab itself is also in some cases ornamented with carvings of flowers, of the lotus of kalas, &c."