Five Sky Dancers

Five Sky Dancers Series, 2021 - Drawings with natural pigment extracts

Five Sky Dancers Series, 2021
Drawings with natural pigment extracts from cinnabar, azurite, malachite, orpiment, and amphibole & ink on rice paper
Collection of Live Forever Foundation, Taiwan

This is a series of drawings made in homage to the five wisdom dakinis, which literally means sky dancers and represent the feminine energy in the tantric tradition. “It is a raw, naked cognizance, like a baby: unaltered, uncontrived, un-fabricated, and uneducated,” as described by a tantric master. Each dakini belongs to a realm with a symbolic direction, color, skandha, element, emotion, and a principal deity. For example, the west realm is represented by the color red, the element of fire, the skandha of scent, the emotion of desire and the principal deity of Amitabha.

The dakini in this realm is Pandara who is the metaphor for the antidote to desire that is the wisdom of observation and her mantra is written on the red-colored drawing. In this series, Tsai also experiments with using natural pigments extracted from minerals such as amphibole, azurite, cinnabar, orpiment, and malachite that are used in Buddhist caves of Dunhuang where the tantric tradition had spread.