Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shakyamuni Buddha - Jataka (previous lives)

ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ། 释迦牟尼佛
(item no. 30907)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1300 - 1399
Lineages Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Buddha

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Shakyamuni Buddha surrounded by the One Hundred Jataka Tales. Three donor type figures are depicted at the bottom center. This painting is unique because of having all 100 Jataka stories represented in a single composition. It is possible that it is the only example known at this time. Each of the stories can be recognized either by written number, Tibetan story inscription or iconographic elements. (View the numbered image. The yellow numbers from 1 to 34 highlight the well-known Thirty-four Jatakamala stories of Aryashura). (See other paintings depicting Jataka Tales in a single composition).

At the center of the composition is Shakyamuni Buddha with Shariputra standing to his right and Maudgalyayana to his left.

At the bottom center are three donor figures. From the left are Jangchub Dragpa (byang chub grags pa), Ponpo Sonam Rinchen (dpon po bsod nams rin chen) and Ponpo Sonam Rabten (dpon po bsod nams rab brtan). The first is a monk according to his garments and the following two figures are laymen based on their titles as 'Ponpo' and their garments with long sleeves on the jackets and variously coloured.

The One Hundred Stories begin at the top center and move clockwise around the figure of the Buddha and two disciples, ending again at the top center.

The most recognizable are the animal story vignettes numbered #1, #6, #15, #16, #22, #24, #25, #27, #30, #33 and #34. (See the first Thirty-four Stories and see a List of the One Hundred Stories).

Read a Selection from the First Thirty-four Stories:
#1. A Starving Tigress, A Tale of Compassion, Selflessness, and Generosity
#6. The Rabbit, A Tale of Selfless Kindness
#15. The Fish, The Rewards of Virtue
#16. The Baby Quail, The Power of Honesty
#22. The Noble Geese, A Tale of Friendship
#24. The Great Monkey, The Consequences of Turning Against a Friend
#25. The Fabulous Sharabha Deer, Having Compassion for an Enemy
#27. The Monkey King, A Tale of Leadership and Self Sacrifice
#30. The Elephant, A Tale of Self Sacrifice
#33. The Buffalo, A Tale of Patience
#34. The Woodpecker, Kindness without Thought of Reward

Jeff Watt 1-2013

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Shakyamuni Buddha: Jataka Stories (Masterworks)
Collection: Private 1
Shakyamuni Buddha, 释迦牟尼佛:, ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ། Painting (Masterworks)
Subject: Torana, Shakyamuni Buddha (Early Animal Depictions)
Shakyamuni Buddha: Jataka Stories Main Page
Shakyamuni Buddha: Early Paintings
Shakyamuni Buddha: Jataka Stories (Single Composition)