Teacher (Lama) - Lobzang Tenpai Gyaltsen
(item no. 31757)


1800 - 1899

Gelug and Buddhist Lineages

Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton

Collection of Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

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Lobzang Tenpai Gyaltsen (1819-1871? [P193]) receiving a blessing from Shakyamuni Buddha and a gift of fruit from the goddess Sarasvati. (See another painting of the same subject).

The painting depicts a very unusual subject. Based on the style of composition it should properly belong to a set of paintings depicting important events in the life of Lobzang Tanpai Gyaltsen. Only two compositions of this subject are recorded on the HAR website and the full narrative and number of paintings in the set remain unknown.

In the biography of Lobzang Tenpai it is recounted how he had dreams or visions of Shakyamuni Buddha descending from the heavens to give him a blessing. It also tells of how the goddess Sarasvati offered him peaches and fresh fruit.

The large white female figure on the right side is the goddess Sarasvati. She holds a lute or 'vina' in the left hand. The right hand is extended forward and offers a bowl of peaches to the Tibetan monk seated on the throne. At the lower left the monk is receiving the peaches from a smaller figure of an attendant goddess to Sarasvati.

At the middle left the monk stands on the low throne and with his hands clasped together in a respectful manner, head slightly bent, he receives a blessing from the hand of the Buddha placed upon his head. the Buddha is accompanied by two attendant goddesses.

At the top right Shakyamuni Buddha sits in vajra posture above a low throne. At the side is a red attendant goddess.

The style of painting and colour palette place the creation of the composition in the Eastern Tibetan region of Amdo. The manner of depicting the figures of the monk, Buddha and goddesses are in keeping with the Gelug Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Jeff Watt 1-2014

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Teacher: Lobzang Tenpai Gyaltsen

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