Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Rongzom Chokyi Zangpo

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 30542)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Nyingma and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Rongzom Chokyi Zangpo (1012-1131 [p3816]) from a set of paintings depicting the previous lives of Jonang Taranata. (See a similar set of paintings that is complete).

At the top center is Amitabha Buddha. Below that and to the left is Guru Dragpo, a meditational form of Padmasambhava. At the bottom right is Shri Devi Dudsolma.

Although similar in appearance to Marpa Chokyo Lodro, founder of the Kagyu Tradition, this teacher does not have any attributes that can positively identify him as Marpa. There are in fact many attributes and iconographic features in the composition that point to an identification as Rongzom Chozang, a previous incarnation of Taranata.

Marpa typically has his hands in the double earth touching gesture, or holds a skullcup in the left hand. He is not typically, or ever, depicted sporting a kila peg (purba) in his belt. Marpa is also not normally associated in any special way with Amitabha Buddha situated in the sky above. The deity in the upper left corner, Guru Dragpo, is specific to the Nyingma 'Revealed Treasure' Tradition and not associated with Marpa in any way.

The protector deity in the lower right corner is associated with the Kagyu Tradition but also common to the Jonang Tradition of Taranata.

Jeff Watt 1-2014

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Teacher: Rongzom Chokyi Zangpo
Collection: Christie's. Jan. 28, 2014