Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Karmapa 1, Dusum Kyenpa

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 107)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Karma (Kagyu) and Buddhist
Size 33.02x24.13cm (13x9.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1995.7.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Monastic

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:P1400

Interpretation / Description

Dusum Khyenpa, the 1st Karmapa, (1110-1193): founder of the Karma (Kamtsang) branch of the Kagyu Tradition.

Kar ma pa Biographical Details

Having an older appearance with gray hair and the head turned to the side he performs the mudra of Dharma teaching with the hands held at the level of the heart in a similitude of a Dharma wheel. Atop the head is a black vajra crown adorned with gold ornamentation - received as a gift from the dakinis in acknowledgment of his realization. Wearing in the red robes of a fully ordained monk he is further attired in a meditation cape. Above an ornate throne and jewel carved backrest covered with brocade he sits in vajra posture gazing to the side. Appearing at the upper left is Ga Lotsawa Zhonnu Pal (12th century, [TBRC P1400]) wearing a red pandita hat, monastic robes and performing the mudra of generosity with the left hand. In a relaxed posture on a western style chair with the right leg extended and the left folded he is surrounded by radiant spheres and cascading rainbow light.

At the left side a solitary monk with the hands raised and joined in respectful devotion sits on a traditional monk's mat. Positioned in front is the wrathful protector Chaturbhuja Mahakala, with one face and four hands, dark blue in colour, holding a curved knife and skullcup in the first pair of hands and a sword and spear in the second. On a corpse seat, sun disc and white lotus blossom he is surrounded by the orange flames of pristine awareness.

On a black swatch in the lower frame of silk brocade is an offering goddess of cloth applique. With one face, two hands and blue in colour she stands in a dancing posture. This painting likely belongs to a set portraying each of the Karmapa incarnate lamas accompanied at the bottom by various offering goddesses in applique.

At the upper left is Ga Lotsawa wearing monastic robes and a red pandita hat, seated in a western style chair.

Jeff Watt 2-99 [updated 1-2017]

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Incarnation Lineage: Gyalwa Karmapa Main Page
Tradition: Kagyu Teachers (Paintings)
Textile: Composition & Finishing
Textile: Mounts (Palpung Style)
Teacher: Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa, 1st
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 5
Tibet: Tsurpu Monastery
Painting Set: Karma Kagyu Lineage (Sertreng, misc.)