Item: Teacher (Lama) - Machig Labdron

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 349)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Shiche/Chöd
Size 58.42x48.26cm (23x19in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.28.1
Painting School Provincial
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Machig Labdron (1055-1153), 'the One Mother, Lamp of the Lab' region of Central Tibet: founder of the Cho Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism surrounded by depictions from her life story.

Ma chig Lab dron Biographical Details

Beautiful, youthful and appearing as a wisdom dakini, she is white in colour, with one face, three eyes and two hands. Adorned with a tiara of gold and jewels, gold earrings and a blue and white silk scarf, she holds upraised in the right hand a double-sided damaru (hand drum) decorated with silk streamers. In the left hand held at the hip is a vajra-handled bell. Supported on the left leg with the right raised up she stands in a dancing posture above a moon disc and multi-coloured lotus blossom surrounded by a red nimbus and outer sphere of rainbow light.

At the top left in a two storied house is the root guru Kyoton Sonam Lama along with Machig and fellow students. At the right, again on the second level are scenes of Machig with the brown skinned Indian Padampa Sanggye - founder of the Zhije Tradition and inspiration for the development of Cho. Descending along the right and left sides are vignettes from the biography of Machig portraying early childhood, family and the pursuit of Dharma teachings. The tradition of Cho, severing the four maras, is practiced to a greater or lesser degree by all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Jeff Watt 2-99

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery II
Teacher: Machig Labdron (Main Page)
Tradition: Zhije & Cho (Pacifying, Cutting, Severing)
Teacher: Machig Labdron (Life Story)

Copyright © 2015 Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation. Photographed Image Copyright © 2004 Rubin Museum of Art