Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Stupa (Buddhist Reliquary) - Painting

མཆོད་རྟེན། 佛塔
(item no. 30550)
Origin Location Nepal
Date Range 1500 - 1599
Lineages Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Object/Concept

Interpretation / Description

One Hundred Thousand Chaitya (Lakshyachaitya). This composition was created as part of a lakshyachaitya ritual in which one hundred thousand chaitya/stupa representations are made from clay or in painting. The ritual in general is for the well being of the family and household. (See HAR #23545).

Sanskrit: Chaitya Tibetan: Chor ten

Stupa (English: reliquary mound) symbolizing the ultimate state of a buddha - the dharmakaya - truth body. In the domed center is Vairochana Buddha, white in colour, with the two hands in the bodhigarbha gesture at the heart.

In the top register beginning on the left side is blue Vajradhara the primordial Buddha, followed by yellow Ratnasambhava and blue Akshobhya Buddhas. Continuing to the right are white Vairochana, red Amitabha and green Amoghasiddhi Buddhas.

At the bottom center is the wrathful protector Mahakala surrounded by donor figures to the right and left. At the immediate left is a Vajracharya priest performing a fire ritual.

An inner register at the top and bottom and additional vertical registers at the right and left sides depict narrative scenes which are most likely drawn from the Shrngabheri Avadana which discusses the relationship between husbands and wives and the importance of Chaitya (stupa) worship.

At the top left just below the register containing the Tantric Buddhas there are two horizontal registers containing the Seven 'historical' Buddhas of the Past: Vipashyin, Shikhin, Vishvabhu, Krakuchanda, Kanakamuni, Kashyapa, Shakyamuni. Below that, in two vertical registers the seven are represented again.

Jeff Watt 1-2014

(See the publication: Popular Buddhist Texts from Nepal, Narratives and Rituals of Newar Buddhism. Todd T. Lewis. Translations in Collaboration with Subarna Man Tuladhar and Labh Ratna Tuladhar. Foreward by Gregory Schopen. State University of New York Press, 2000. Chapter 2. Stupas and Spouses: the Shrngabheri Avadana, pages 21 to 48).

Jeff Watt 1-2014

Secondary Images
Related Items
Bibliography: Stupa (Reliquary)

Thematic Sets
Painting Set Comparables: Stupas of Kathmandu
Collection: Bonhams NY, March 2018
Collection: Christie's. Jan. 28, 2014
Stupa (Chaitya): Main Page
Stupa (Chaitya): Deities
Stupa: Painting, Textile & Print