Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Wangdu Nyingpo, Sakya Tridzin 32

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 412)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Sakya
Size 63.50x42.55cm (25x16.75in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1996.28.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Lay Person

Gender: Male

TBRC: P807

Interpretation / Description

Wangdu Nyingpo, Thuchen (1763-1806 [p807]): Patriarch of the Khon Family, the 32nd Sakya Trizin, the second Padmasambhava of this Age and a renowned Terton (finder of Revealed Treasure), surrounded by meditational deities above and previous incarnations below.

In physical appearance similar to Padmasambhava, he gazes forward with large round eyes, a slight goatee and wizened appearance. The dark hair is arranged in a topknot on the crown of the head tied with a red ribbon and adorned with a sacred text. White conch shell loops - the ornaments of yogis - hang from the ears. The right hand at the heart holds a gold vajra and the left in the lap in the gesture of meditation supports a nectar filled skullcup and golden vase crowned with a jewel. The bend of the left arm cradles an upright katvanga staff adorned with a trident point, three impaled heads, a vase, a half-double vajra and decorated with an orange streamer. The upper body garbed in a shirt in the fashion of a monk is further covered with a red and gold brocade robe. The lower body is attired in a white robe, in the fashion of hereditary yogis of the Nyingma Tradition, particular to the Khon family of Sakya. A kila peg (Tibetan: phur ba) is worn tucked under the blue sash serving as a belt. A blue and orange meditation cloak is wrapped about the waist and legs. With the right leg drawn up and the left extended in a relaxed posture he sits atop a moon disc and multi-coloured lotus seat surrounded by a blue-orange nimbus and dark green aureole.

"To the buddhas of the three times as the second Oddiyana. Protector with all gathered power over the animate and inanimate. Subduer of wrong doers, possessing the essence of the path entwined as the great bliss of the four joys together with wisdom, compassion and power. I pray, pacify obstacles of daemons and bhutas, and bestow the blessing of attainments - making aspirations spontaneous." (Trakshul Thinley Rinchen, 1871-1935).

At the top center is the buddha of boundless light, Amitabha, red in colour with the two hands placed in the mudra of meditation supporting a begging bowl. Below that is the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, white with one face and four hands. At the top left is the meditational deity Shri Hevajra, blue, with eight faces, sixteen hands and four legs, embracing the consort Vajra Nairatmya. Below that is Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja, blue, with three faces and six hands embracing the consort. At the top right is Chakrasamvara, blue, with four faces and twelve hands embracing the red consort Vajrayogini. Below that is Vajrakilaya, blue, with three faces and six hands embracing the light blue consort Dipta Chakra.

List of Previous Incarnations:
1. Guhya Siddha
2. Krishnacharin
3. Raja Vessantara
4. Gyalpo Nyatri Tsenpo
5. Padmasambhava
6. Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
7. Marpa Lotsawa
8. Ngagchang Kunga Rinchen
9. Garchen Tutob Wangchug
10. Sonam Rinchen
11. Ngagwang Palden Chogyong

༡. གྲུབ་ཐོབ་གུཧྱ།
༢. ནག་པོ་སྤྱོད་པ།
༣. ཆོས་རྒྱལ་དྲི་མེད་ཀུན་ལྡན།
༤. གཉའ་ཁྲི་བཙན་པོ།
༥. པད་མ་འབྱུང་གནས།
༦. གྲགས་པ་རྒྱལ་མཚན།
༧. མར་པ་ལོ་ཙྭ།
༨. ཀུན་དགའ་རིན་ཆེན།
༩.་སྒར་ཆེན་མཐུ་སྟོབས་དབང་ཕྱུག།
༡༠. བསོད་ནམས་རིན་ཆེན།
༡༡.་ངག་དབང་དཔལ་ལྡན་ཆོས་སྐྱོང་།

The remaining figures in the composition are all previous incarnations of Wangdu Nyingpo. Descending from the middle left, the first is the Indian Raja, Vessantara, a royal figure, opulently attired with a third eye in the center of the forehead. The right hand is in the gesture of blessing and the left resting across the left knee holds a jewel.

Below that is Padmasambhava holding a vajra in the right hand placed at the heart and cradling a skullcup in the lap with the left. A katvanga staff leans against the left shoulder. Wearing a lotus crown hat he is lavishly attired in multi-coloured brocades symbolic of the three sets of vows.

Below that is the fierce Indian mahasiddha, Guhya, brown of colour, holding a sword in the right hand and with the left grasping the hair of a zombie that is performing the function of a mount.

Below that is Ngagchang Kunga Rinchen, the 23rd Sakya Trizin (1517-1584) with the right hand in the mudra of blessing and the left in the gesture of meditation supporting a skullcup. With long black hair and a goatee, he is dressed in brocade robes and a white lower garment.

Slightly to the right is the yogi Garchen Tutob Wangchug, glaring, balding and with large bone earrings. In the right hand he holds a skullcup and wears the white upper robe of an ascetic and a red meditation belt; seated in a relaxed manner.

Descending from the right, the first figure is the Tibetan Gyalpo Nyatri Tsanpo, well adorned with a crown and brocade robes. The two hands hold a gold Dharma wheel in the lap.

Below that is the Indian mahasiddha Krishnacharin, holding aloft a damaru drum in the right hand and a skullcup at the waist with the left. Floating above the head is a golden canopy accompanied by numerous damaru drums. Seated atop a corpse seat he flies wistfully among the clouds.

Below that is Marpa Lotsawa, a translator with dark curly hair and a goatee. The right hand performs the gesture of earth witness and the left holds a skullcup, wearing the white lower robe signifying a lay family practitioner.

Below that is Yabchen Sonam Rinchen, the 30th Sakya Trizin (1705-1741), paternal grandfather to Wangdu Nyingpo. The right hand is in earth witness gesture and the left holds a golden vase. Wearing a red pandita hat with the lappets draped across the top in Sakya style, he is attired in rich brocades and wears the customary white lower garment.

Slightly to the left is Palden Chogyong (1702-1760 [p802]), youthful in appearance, the founder of the Ngor Phende Labrang and the 34th Ngor Khenchen. The right hand is in the gesture of explication at the heart and the left holds in the lap a religious text; adorned with a Sakya hat and the robes of a monk.

Directly below the central figure is Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen, pale in complexion, with short black hair and a goatee, holding a vajra and bell crossed at the heart. Wearing a long brocade jacket and garments of various colours, he is wrapped in a white meditation cloak above a cushion seat and pink lotus flower.

It is interesting to note that the father of Wangdu Nyingpo was Sachen Kunga Lodro (1729-1783), the previous Sakya Tridzin. In the official family records, the 'Sakya Dungrab Chenmo,' it is writtn that the worldly protector deity Dorje Shugden claimed that Kunga Lodro was the incarnation of the Indian mahasiddha Jetari.

The lower center of the composition is filled with opulent and auspicious offerings of a gold Dharma wheel, precious wishing jewels of various colour, conch shell, red coral, ivory, bolts of fabric and the like.

The four meditational deities at the top represent the main meditation practices of Wangdu Nyingpo and the remaining figures at the sides, royals, mahasiddhas and Tibetan teachers represent his previous lives. The two present day palaces (Tib.: pho drang) of Sakya and branches of the Khon family, the Drolma and Phuntsok, were founded by the two sons of Wangdu Nyingpo, Padma Dudul Wangchug and Kunga Rinchen respectively.

Jeff Watt 8-99 [updated 2-2014]

Front of Painting
Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: snag 'chang kun dga' rin chan la na mo. [... ? ...]. ... sga ra ... dbang phug la na mo. dam ... lo tsa ba la na mo. pal ldan chos skyong la na mo. yab chen bsod nam rin chen la na mo.

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery VII
Tradition: Sakya Teachers
Subject: Incarnation Lineage Paintings
Teacher: Wangdu Nyingpo (Sakya Tridzin)