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Happy Earth Day! In celebration of the efforts taking place around the world to protect and conserve the environment, we’ve selected several works from the collection that touch on themes of growth, preservation, and regeneration.

Do you have a favorite landscape, nature photograph, or other artwork that highlights the beauty of nature? Please share it with us in the comments section below!

1. Indra

Indra; Nepal; 1463; Gilt copper alloy; Rubin Museum of Art C2005.16.15. Not on view.
Indra; Nepal; 1463; Gilt copper alloy; Rubin Museum of Art C2005.16.15. Not on view.

In Hinduism, Indra is regarded as the god of rain. He is highly revered in Nepal and is often represented in this characteristic form. He sits on a wide lotus base and both hands hold the stalk of a lotus, the one to the side of his left shoulder bearing his signature attribute, the vajra.

2. Parnashavari, the Forest Goddess

Forest Goddess: Healer of Contagious Diseases Parnashavari (detail); Central Tibet; 19th century; Pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art C2003.36.3. This painting is currently on view in
Forest Goddess: Healer of Contagious Diseases Parnashavari (detail); Central Tibet; 19th century; Pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art C2003.36.3. This painting is currently on view in “Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection.”

The Forest Goddess is an example of an Indian folk deity that was absorbed into Tantric Buddhism. She has numerous forms with varying emphases. For the practitioner of Esoteric Buddhist meditation, the Forest Goddess is an emanation of the Buddha, and her special characteristic or metaphor is that of sickness and healing.

3. River Goddess Yamuna

River Goddess Yamuna; Nepal; 18th century; Copper repousse of multiple parts, pigments; Rubin Museum of Art; Gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin C2006.66.631. Not on view.
River Goddess Yamuna; Nepal; 18th century; Copper repousse of multiple parts, pigments; Rubin Museum of Art; Gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin C2006.66.631. Not on view.

This sculpture of goddess Yamuna originally stood at the right side of an entrance to a temple and formed a pair with a sculpture of the goddess Ganga on the opposite side. A visit to these personifications of the holiest Indian rivers confers ritual purity and makes the temple itself a guarantor of plenty.

4. Green Tara

Green Tara; Tibet; 13th century; Brass with inlays of silver; Rubin Museum of Art C2005.16.30. Currently on view in
Green Tara; Tibet; 13th century; Brass with inlays of silver; Rubin Museum of Art C2005.16.30. Currently on view in “Gateway to Himalayan Art.”

The name “Tara” means “star” and she takes many forms to become accessible to those in need. Green Tara represents the potential for life, through which change and even transcendence become possible. For these qualities, she is called “The Mother of All Activities.”

5. Kychu River

Kychu River (Diptych); Tsewang Tashi; 1999; Oil on canvas; Rubin Museum of Art SC2010.27a-b. Not on view.
Kychu River (Diptych); Tsewang Tashi; 1999; Oil on canvas; Rubin Museum of Art SC2010.27a-b. Not on view.

This diptych shows a panorama of Tibet’s Kychu River and surrounding mountains in a realistic, yet sublime, manner. Also known as the Lhasa River, the Kychu is the site of Tibet’s Bathing Festival, during which people figuratively wash off the past year and invite good fortune into the year to come.

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