Texts and Illustrations from China's Ethnic Minorities

Twenty-One Hymns to the Rescuer Mother of Buddhas

Manuscript in Manchu, Tibetan, Mongolian, and Chinese scripts in the reign of Emperor Qianlong. Chinese pothi binding.

The sutra from Tibetan esoteric Buddhism is also known as the "Twenty-One Hymns to the Rescuer Saint Tārā, Mother of Buddhas". The mother of Buddhas is an avatar of the Bodhisattva Guanyin. The 21 rescuer mothers of Buddhas are female deities who relieve and rescue myriad beings from sufferings, and they are honoured by all sects of Tibetan Buddhism. This "imperially commissioned translation" in Tibetan, Manchu, Mongolian, and Chinese scripts is believed to be copied by Yong Rong (1744-1790), the sixth son of Emperor Qianlong. It is a distinctive work of literature which reflects the attitude of the royal household to Buddhism in the Qing Dynasty.