Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Sachen Kunga Nyingpo

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 203)
Origin Location Central Tibet
Date Range 1500 - 1599
Lineages Sakya
Size 50.80x43.18cm (20x17in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Shelley & Donald Rubin
Catalogue # acc.# P1995.24.3
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Lay Person

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:P1615

Interpretation / Description

Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158), the 3rd Throne Holder of Sakya and the patriarch of the early Khon family lineage: Sonam Tsemo, Dragpa Gyaltsen and Sakya Pandita.

Biographical Details:

Sachen Kunga Nyingpo Sonam Tsemo

Dragpa Gyaltsen Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen

Seated at the top left, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, in a fatherly demeanour with white receding hair, performs with the two hands the gesture of Dharma Teaching at the heart while holding the stems of two utpala flowers blossoming over each shoulder. Wearing the assorted garments of a layman he sits on a lotus seat surrounded by a nimbus of layered ornate lights. In the upper corner sits a small buddha figure demonstrating the teaching gesture.

At the right is Sonam Tsemo (1142-1182) the eldest son of Sachen and the 4th Throne Holder. With the Dharma Teaching gesture and two blossoming utpala flowers supporting a wisdom sword and Prajnaparamita book he also is attired in the garb of a layman. Above, between the two lamas sits Shakyamuni Buddha. In the upper right sits another buddha figure performing the teaching gesture.

At the bottom left is Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen (1147-1216), the second son and 5th Throne Holder, with the teaching gesture and two lotus flowers supporting a vajra and bell; a layman. At the upper left sits Vajrasattva, the buddha of purification.

To the right is Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen Pal Zangpo (1182-1251), the grandson of Sachen and 6th Throne Holder, with the red hat of a pandita and wearing the robes of a fully ordained monk. Leafing through a Sanskrit text while holding the stems of two flower blossoms supporting a sword and book he sits on a lotus seat surrounded by ornate nimbus patterns. Above, between the two is Mahavairochana, the All-knowing (Tibetan: kun rig), white in colour, with four faces and two hands, seated. To the right is another figure of Vajrasattva.

Western Tibetan in style the painting is heavily influenced by Nepali colouring with dark red tones and rigid geometric form filled with ornate pattern designs.

Jeff Watt 9-98

Secondary Images
Related Items
Publication: Tibetan Paintings

Thematic Sets
Tradition: Sakya Teachers
Tradition: Sakya Founders
Teacher: Sachen Kunga Nyingpo Main Page
Teacher Portraits: Multiple Main Figures
Subject: Margapala Sets (Four Figures)
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin
Painting Set: Margapala [19]