Item: Teacher (Lama) - Lobzang Tenpai Gyaltsen

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 31757)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

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

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Collection of Yale University Beinecke Library (Best of Collection)
Teacher: Lobzang Tenpai Gyaltsen

Copyright © 2015 Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation. Photographed Image Copyright © 2013 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University