|Date Range||1700 - 1799|
|Lineages||Gelug and Buddhist|
|Material||Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton|
|Collection||Publication: A Tale of Thangkas|
Kalzang Gyatso (1708-1757) in Mahasiddha Appearance, 7th Dalai Lama from a set of likely seven paintings depicting secret Tantric practices. At this time this composition is the only known example from a full set (see detail images). There are several other sets known with the identical composition depicting this subject. The most complete set is in the collection of Tibet House, New Delhi. (See compositions from various sets).
It is believed that the central figure is Kalzang Gyatso, the 7th Dalai Lama accompanied by seven other mahasiddha figures and Tantric symbolism. In front to the middle left side are five standing female figures holding necessary objects for a proper feast offering ritual (ganachakra). The entire set of seven paintings must be understood as a whole to be able to interpret individual compositions such as this painting.
According to the Tibet House painting set the identities of the central figures are: 1. Avalokiteshvara
2. Kalzang Gyatso
3. Kalzang Gyatso
4. Siddha Figure (Kalzang Gyatso)
5. Chakrasamvara Meditational Deity
6. Kalachakra Meditational Deity
7. (Unknown subject)
Based on the meaning of the secondary figures in the composition HAR #46911, and interpreting the eight siddhas in the Kalachakra composition, the central figure and seven surrounding siddha figures most likely represent eight of the twenty-four shakta pithas, Tantric holy places of India.
Jeff Watt 2-2016