Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Karmapa 6, Tongwa Donden

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 23949)
Origin Location Tibet
Lineages Karma (Kagyu) and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Monastic

Gender: Male

TBRC: P1006

Interpretation / Description

Tongwa Tonden, 6th Karmapa (mthong ba don ldan, 1416-1453), the 18th composition from a large set of Karma Kagyu Lineage Teacher paintings known as the Kagyu Sertreng. (See a short biography of Tongwa Donden and see a list of the Karma Kagyu Lineage Sets).


- Upper right - Vina Sarasvati.
- Middle right with a red cap - 3rd Shamarpa Chopel Yeshe (1406-1452).
- Lower right with a pandita hat - Rongton Sheja Kunzig (1367-1449).
- Lower left holding a book- attendant figure.

At the upper right corner is Vina Sarasvati, goddess of literature, poetry and wisdom. "...the goddess Sarasvati, with a body white in colour, one face, two hands. Seated in a relaxed manner, with a face like the rising moon, eyebrows like drawn lines, two beautiful eyes like utpalas, casting side long glances like shooting stars, a clear complexion, pink cheeks and attractive. The throat is graceful and gently bending; white breasts, round, firm, upright and full. The left hand holds a jewel-studded vina of the gandharavas, the right a pick strumming the vina enthusiastically with the fingertips. With a very slender waist and flexible hips, a body well proportioned, fair, smooth, young, ample flesh and well rounded. Seated with the two legs, white, smooth, relaxed and desirable, in a slightly crouching manner; attractive braids, long and full, half-loose covering the upper back, half tied up in a topknot blazing with a wishing jewel. At the hairline - wearing a beautiful gold chain strung with flowers, blue, red and the like, wearing earrings of gold flowers and utpalas. Next to the ears are flowing silk ribbons; also adorned with many ornaments, jewel earrings, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, belt, long-necklace and the like. Wearing an attractive upper garment of white cotton and a lower garment like a rainbow; fantastically beloved, radiantly desirous - sixteen years of age." (Jamyang Kyentse Wangpo, 1820-1892).

Jeff Watt 7-2015

- The Golden Garland of Kagyu Biographies, Vol.2. Vajra Vidya Institute Library: 2005.
- Patron and Painter: Situ Panchen and the Revival of the Encampment Style. David P. Jackson. Rubin Museum of Art: 2009.

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Teacher: Karmapa Tongwa Donden, 6th
Collection: Christies on HAR
Collection: Christies New York (Painting. September 15, 2015)
Incarnation Lineage: Gyalwa Karmapa Main Page
Painting Sets: Karma Kagyu Lineage (All)