Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Indian Teacher - Shantideva

རྒྱ་གར་གྱི་མཁས་པ། མཁན་ཆེན། 印度的祖师
(item no. 15431)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1900 - 1959
Lineages Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Shechen Archives - photographs
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Monastic

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:P6161

Interpretation / Description

Shantideva surrounded by the Six Ornaments and Two Excellent Ones of the Southern Continent. At the top center is Shakyamuni Buddha with the bodhisattva Manjushri seated to his right and the bodhisattva Maitreya to the left. The artist name is Thangla Tsewang (1902-1989) of East Tibet. (Six Ornaments Outline Page).

At the center of the composition is Shantideva depicted as floating above a teaching seat at Nalanda Monastery. This follows the most famous narrative episode in the life story of Shantideva when he first taught the Bodhicharyavatara to the congregation of monks and scholars. When he began to teach the ninth chapter, a section on wisdom and the Buddhist view of reality, then Shantideva is said to have risen up into the sky. After that he left Nalanda for the quiet and solitude of South India.

At the top center is Shakyamuni Buddha. Descending on the left side are Manjushri, Nagarjuna and Aryadeva.

Descending on the right side are Maitreya, Asanga, Vasubandu and Chardragomi. The other figures in the lower composition are Dignaga, Dharmakirti, Gunaprabha and Shakyaprabha. There are two additional figures but the image is not clear enough to be able to read the name inscriptions.

Jeff Watt 1-2008

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Subject: Mahayana Buddhism Main Page
Indian Scholar: Shantideva Page
Subject: Indian Scholar (Buddhist)
Subject: Monastic Shirt (Blue)
Subject: Six Ornaments of the Southern Continent Main Page
Subject: Seventeen Great Scholars of Nalanda Monastery
Collection of Shechen Archives: Gallery I