Tara (one of the Famed Twenty-one Tara Emanations)

Historical period(s)
Second half of 17th century
Gilt copper alloy, turquoise, enamel, and coral
H x W: 48.3 x 31.8 cm (19 x 12 1/2 in)
Central Tibet
Credit Line
The Alice S. Kandell Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Sackler Gallery 26a: The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room
Metalwork, Sculpture


Alice S. Kandell Collection, Tara, Tibet

?-early 1960
Reting Rinpoche Tenzin Jigme Thutob Wangchuk (1948-1997), Tibet [1]

Early 1960-early 1980s
Kism; her family, by gift or inheritance from Kism's uncle or grandfather, a secretary to Reting Rinpoche Tenzin Jigme Thutob Wangchuk [2]

Early 1980s-by late 1980s
Philip Rudko, purchased from Kism in New York, NY [3]

By late 1980s-2011
Alice S. Kandell, purchased from Philip Rudko in New York, NY [4]

From 2011
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Alice S. Kandell [5]

[1] As abbot of Reting Monastery in Central Tibet, the Reting Rinpoche is an important Tibetan Buddhist leader whose role may include selection of the next Dalai Lama.

See acquisition proposal titled “Tara (One of the Famed Twenty-one Tara Emanations) Offered as a gift from Alice S. Kandell to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art,” 2011, copy in object file. The acquisition proposal states that the Reting Rinpoche sent his portable wealth out of Tibet in the early 1960s as a means to safeguard their cultural heritage and wealth.

[2] Kism’s grandfather or her uncle served as a secretary to the Reting Rinpoche Tenzin Jigme Thutob Wangchuk. See note 1. The 2011 acquisition proposal says that Kism is the “granddaughter of one of the Reting’s secretaries” and Kism “had homes in both New York City and Kathmandu.” See also notes from interview between Philip Rudko and Joanna M. Gohmann, November 6, 2020, see object file. According to Philip Rudko, Kism's uncle served as secretary to the Reting Rinpoche. Philip Rudko reports that he never learned Kism's last name and is unsure if Kism did in fact have a last name. Tibetan individuals around that time were reluctant to share their family name -- if they had one -- when selling objects like this one, as items like this typically stayed within a family. To this day, many Tibetans do not have last names.

[3] See note 1. The acquisition proposal states that Philip Rudko purchased this object directly from Kism. Philip Rudko, born just outside New York City in northern New Jersey, is a Russian Orthodox priest and art conservator, specializing in Tibetan objects. He works with the collector Alice Kandell as the curator of her personal collection.

[4] See note 1. Alice S. Kandell is a private collector, who for decades acquired hundreds of bronze sculptures, thangkas, textile banners, painted furniture and ritual implements. Her interest in Tibetan art and culture began during her college years, when she took the first of many trips to Sikkim, Tibet and Ladakh. Throughout her career as a child psychologist in New York, she continued to pursue her love of Tibetan Buddhist sacred art, traveling, collecting and documenting the art and culture of the region in two books of photography, “Sikkim: The Hidden Kingdom” (Doubleday) and “Mountaintop Kingdom: Sikkim” (Norton).

[5] See Deed of Gift, dated March 18, 2011, copy in object file.

Research Completed December 7, 2022

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Philip J. Rudko
Alice S. Kandell
Reting Rinpoche Tenzin Jigme Thutob Wangchuk

Published References
  • Paths to Perfection, Buddhist Art at the Freer/Sackler. Washington. pp. 114-115.
  • Marylin M. Rhie, Robert A.F. Thurman. A Shrine for Tibet: The Alice S. Kandell Collection. New York and London. III-3, 142-143.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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