Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shambhala (Buddhist Pureland)

ཤམ་བྷ་ལྷ། ཞིང་ཁམས། 香巴拉(净土)
(item no. 2174)
Origin Location Tibet
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Location

Interpretation / Description

Shambhala: hidden kingdom of the north, Buddhist pureland, realm of the Kulika Kings - guardians of the Kalachakra cycle of Tantras.

Shaped like an eight petaled lotus surrounded by impenetrable snow mountains, in the center on a raised plateau, is the capital city of Kalapa. In the middle sits King Manjukirti, emanation of Manjushri, lineal descendant of King Suchandra who received the Shri Kalachakra tantra and initiation directly from the Buddha Shakyamuni. Immediately in front is the temple of the Kalachakra mandala. A circle of white snow mountains ring the capital city. The outer area is divided into eight regions radiating like the petals of a lotus. The regions, divided by rivers and snow mountains, each contain twelve districts making a total of ninety-six in all.

At the top center is lama Tsongkapa (1357-1419) with the hands in the teaching mudra holding the stems of two lotus blossoms supporting a sword and book, attired in the robes of a monk and wearing a yellow pandita hat. At the left side is Manjushri holding a sword and book. Again to the left is Arya Nagarjuna with snakes decorating his green nimbus. On the right side is Maitreya, the future Buddha. Slightly below is Jowo Atisha.

Several hundred years in the future there will be a great battle between good and evil. The armies of Shambhala acting in response to aggression, led by the 25th King Rudra Chakra, attack the barbarians of the South, assisted by worldly gods who combat the forces of daemonic darkness. Upon victory a new golden age of Buddhism dawns in the world.

The inscription at the bottom right side is quite badly effaced with many letters and words missing due to paint loss. However, in general the inscription is describing the appearance of Shambhala, its general shape, number of districts, the king and palace at the center, along with the Kalachakra temple and mandala in front of the royal palace.

Jeff Watt 2-2017

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: [Effaced inscription at the bottom right side]

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection: Bonhams London (Highlights)
Collection: Jongen-Schleiper (Paintings)
Collection: Bonhams London (Inscriptions)
Collection: Bonhams London (Mandalas)
Subject: Shambhala Main Page (Sacred Geography)
Subject: Purelands & Sacred Geography Main Page