Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Tsongkapa

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 30546)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Monastic

Gender: Male


Interpretation / Description

Tsongkapa Life Story painting from a fifteen composition set.

Tsongkapa, designed in the early 18th century by Jamyang Shepa (1648-1721/1722), has fifteen individual compositions. There are several iconographic systems based on explanatory texts laying out the life of Tsongkapa chronologically accompanied by number references. Short inscriptions and the sequential number are often found with each painting following the narrative vignette.

There are two main compositional formats for the sets of paintings. The first format [1] is symmetrical with Tsongkapa depicted at the center of each composition. The second format [2] is asymmetrical with Tsongkapa appearing at the right or left side of the composition. The majority of compositions follow the symmetrical format. This format is also based on the Jamyang Shepa textual explanation. In the 18th century a set of wood blocks were carved making it possible to create large numbers of block print images on paper, cloth or silk.

Jeff Watt 2-2014

View other items in the Thematic Set: Teacher: Tsongkapa Life Story Main Page