Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 134)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1500 - 1599
Lineages Sakya, Ngor (Sakya) and Buddhist
Size 118.11x102.87cm (46.50x40.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Shelley & Donald Rubin
Catalogue # acc.# P1994.21.5
Painting School Gyangtse
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Monastic

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:P1132

Interpretation / Description

Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (1382-1456): the founder of the Ngor Branch of the Sakya School.

Biographical Details

Richly clad with orange and red robes decorated with the eight auspicious emblems and mystic syllables Ngorchen also wears the red pandita hat of Sakya while performing the Dharma Teaching mudra (gesture) with the two hands holding the stems of two utpala flowers blossoming above the shoulders supporting an upright vajra on the right and a bell on the left. With the exposed feet, marked with Dharma wheels, placed in vajra posture seated above a multi-coloured lotus and lion supported jewelled throne with an elaborate backrest, he is surrounded by a blue nimbus and green aureola decorated with wishing jewels.

'By instigating a wish-filling festival of oral instructions,
Churned from the ocean of sutras and tantras,
The beneficent one and bestower of happiness and benefits;
to the feet of Kunga Zangpo, I supplicate.' (Sakya liturgical verse).

Along the top center is a small figure of Shakyamuni Buddha. Starting at the top left corner and moving to the right is Buddha Vajradhara, mahasiddha Virupa, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, Sonam Tsemo, Trakpa Gyaltsen, Sakya Pandita, Chogyal Pagpa and the wrathful bodhisattva Vajrapani. Slightly below are the tutelary deities Chakrasamvara to the left and Shri Hevajra to the right. Vertically along each side are four lamas wearing similar attire and performing the same hand gestures as the central figure - Ngorchen.

Again moving downwards on the left side is the bodhisattva Maitreya, Shadaksari Avalokiteshvara, Green Tara and at the bottom is Panjarnata Mahakala and Shri Devi. On the right side is Arya Manjushri, Ushnishavijaya, green Vajravidarana and the wealth deity yellow Jambhala. Seated at the bottom center is a monk performing offering services before two tables of various ritual substances.

Rich with dark red tones and ornate complex designs the painting is executed in the Nepali influenced painting style developed at Ngor monastary in the 15th century.

Jeff Watt 9-98

Number Key:
1. Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo
2. Unidentified Figure
3. Unidentified Figure
4. Unidentified Figure
5. Unidentified Figure
6. Shakyamuni Buddha
7. Chakrasamvara
8. Hevajra
9. Vajradhara
10. Virupa
11. Sachen Kunga Nyingpo
12. Sonam Tsemo
13. Dragpa Gyaltsen
14. Sakya Pandita
15. Chogyal Pagpa
16. Vajrapani (Drogon Chagna)
17. Arya Maitreya 18. Arya Manjushri 19. Arya Lokeshvara 20. Ushnishavijaya 21. Green Tara 22. Vajravidarana 23. Panjara Mahakala 24. Shri Devi 25. Yellow Jambhala Donor Figure & Shrine

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Tradition: Sakya Teachers
Painting Style: Western Tibetan
Subject: Six Ornaments of Sakya
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin
Teacher: Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (Masterworks)
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin (Masterworks)
Painting: Styles & Traditions Date Chart
Teacher: Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo
Subject: Ngor Tradition (Teachers)
Subject: Ngor Masterworks
Painting Style: Gyantse Scroll Paintings
Glossary: Painting Traditions & Styles - Names & Terms
Collection Index: Private
Subject: Masterworks (Painting Traditions & Styles, 繪畫傳統與風格)
Subject: Teachers (Iconography & Gender)
Subject: Jewels (Early Use as Offerings)