News

Entries Tagged as portraits

Sengge Gyaltsen Page - Added

February 23, 2017 ·

A page for the teacher Sengge Gyaltsen has been added to the HAR database.

Tags: additions · portraits

Early Paintings of Tsongkapa - Updated

August 24, 2016 ·

The Early Paintings of Tsongkapa Page has been updated with additional images.

Tags: portraits · updates

Shakya Yeshe as a Secondary Figure - Added

August 23, 2016 ·

A page for Jamchen Choje Shakya Yeshe as a secondary figure in textile tangkas has been added and linked to the main Shakya Yeshe Page.

Tags: Textile · additions · portraits

Portrait Sculpture Page - Added

May 13, 2015 ·

A page for Portrait Sculpture, images, explanation, and types has been added.

Tags: additions · portraits · Sculpture

9th Ngor Khenchen Lhachog Sengge - Updated

October 28, 2012 ·

Lachog Sengge, 1468-1535, was a religious teacher, scholar and a patron of the arts. There are numerous examples of paintings in museum and private collections around the world that were commissioned by Lhachog Sengge. The objects are all identified by inscription along the bottom front or on the reverse. Many of the paintings are dedicated to his personal teachers while others are dedicated to lineage teachers of the more distant past.

Tags: portraits · Sculpture · updates

The Arts of Tibetan Painting (PIATS 2010)

September 22, 2012 ·

The Arts of Tibetan Painting: Recent Research on Manuscripts, Murals and Thangkas of Tibet, the Himalayas and Mongolia (11th-19th century). Edited by Amy Heller.

This collection of articles is a hallmark in publication as Asianart.com's first venture in online publication of a complete volume, comprising 13 articles which stem from the 12th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (Vancouver 2010). This volume of recent major discoveries and analyses by distinguished scholars of Tibetan and Mongolian art, history, and language is presented in a format accessible to non-specialist readers as well as specialists, copiously illustrated with detail enlargements. [The introduction above is taken from the Asianart website]. (See Table of Contents).

Tags: Tibet · additions · articles · Mongolia · Murals · painting · portraits · Sculpture

Pagmodrupa Dorje Gyalpo - Updated

November 11, 2011 ·

Pagmodrupa Dorje Gyalpo (1110-1170) was one of the three principal students of Gampopa, the founder of the Pagdru Kagyu School. Eight of his students went on to found eight further Kagyu schools; Drigung, Taglung, Drugpa, Yamzang, Tropu, Martsang, Yelpa and the Shugseb. These became known as the Eight Smaller Schools of the Kagyu Tradition.

What is not so commonly known about Pagmodrupa is that prior to meeting Gampopa he studied for 12 years with Sachen Kunga Nyingpo - one of the early founders of the Sakya Tradition. The younger brother of Pagmodrupa, Dampa Desheg, founded the Katog Monastery - counted as one of the six principal monasteries of the Nyingma Tradition.

Tags: portraits · updates

An Historically Important Painting: Je Tsongkapa Life-story

September 20, 2011 ·

This composition of Je Tsongkapa with the surrounding life-story is likely to be the earliest and most important painting known to exist on the subject of Tsongkapa. The painting is dated, based on style and iconography, to just after Tsongkapa's death in 1419.

The importance of the painting rests with the life-story surrounding the central figure on four sides. There were many early biographies of Tsongkapa in the 15th and 16th centuries, but over time some of them were considered unorthodox and many subsequently banned by the mid to late 17th century. Even now some of these early banned biographies have not been located despite ongoing efforts to find them in the last half of the 20th century by such orgainizations as the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC).


The unique characteristics of the visual narrative in this painting are fascinating because they do not appear to follow precisely the chronology or events as told in the later orthodox biographies such as that of Jamyang Shepa - popularized in the early 18th century.

Aside from the important biographical narrative, to the left and right of the head and upper body of Tsongkapa are the Yogachara and Madhyamaka lineages which were to become a standard compositional trademark for later depictions of Tsongkapa in the 15th and 16th centuries - later modified and updated by the invention of Gelug Refuge Field paintings in the 17th century - inspired by the writings of the first Panchen Lama, Lobzang Chokyi Gyaltsen (1570-1662).

Currently this painting is the earliest know visual biography with extensive inscriptions detailing the life story of Tsongkapa. It is also the earliest known painting depicting the Yogachara and Madhyamaka lineage composition which was to become standard for Tsongkapa paintings for the next two centuries.

Tags: Tibet · art · iconography · portraits

10th Karmapa, Choying Dorje Outline Page

January 09, 2010 ·

Choying DorjeChoying Dorje was both a Tibetan artist and a religious teacher - head of the Karma Kagyu (Kamtsang) Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism - the 10th Karmapa (1604-1674). His art is unique and the style recognizable. The paintings are known for bright colours, simple repetitive human figures and great detail and care when depicting animals and birds. Arhats were a popular theme as well as deity figures such as Avalokiteshvara, Tara and Marichi. The only nearly complete set of paintings known to have been done by Choying Dorje, and still in existence today, are a set of paintings depicting the Life Story of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Of the nearly two hundred works of art that Choying Dorje created during his life, and subsequently recorded in the various biographies, approximately thirty pieces are currently known to exist. The paintings are most plentiful with agreement amongst most scholars as to their authenticity and attribution. However, with the sculpture, there are fewer known pieces and a greater disagreement as to which sculpture can be accurately attributed to Choying Dorje. (See the Choying Dorje Outline Page).

Tags: outlines · painting · portraits

Hats: Who's who in the world of hats?

October 21, 2008 ·


Hats are actually a big deal in religion and art. In art they help us to identify particular people, hierarchy and religious traditions. They also help us track hats in different paintings and sculpture over time (art history) and help to determine the age of particular works of art, and why, because hats change over time. More importantly hats are fun, weird and sometimes strange. What about the black hat of the Karmapas supposedly made from the hair of one hundred thousand Dakinis? What's a Dakini?

There is also the raven topped crown of the king of Bhutan. This hat is based on a religious hat used in fearsome protection rituals. How did it end up on the head of a king in a kingdom that still exists? How many Himalayan kingdoms are left?

Hats are interesting and each has a story about how it came about, why it has a certain colour and shape, and who can and who can't wear the hat. It is very much a staus thing. The hat in the image on the left is the special hat of the Mindroling hierarchs and in this case worn by Terdag Lingpa Gyurme Dorje in a very rare Tibetan portrait painting.

Look to Hats of the Himalayas for an overview of the different hats and the traditions to which they belong. This is just a preliminary look and a lot more work needs to be done. What is very important to remember is that hats are one of the most important iconographic keys in the study, identification and recognition of Himalayan and Tibetan teachers. Hats, who knew!

Tags: hats · portraits