Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Tsongkapa

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 32128)
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

TBRC: bdr:P64

Interpretation / Description

Tsongkapa, Lobzang Dragpa (1357-1419): founder of the Gelugpa Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. (See the Five Forms Main Page).

The Five forms of Tsongkapa (je zigpa ngaden) are based on the visions of Kedrub Geleg Pal Zangpo (1385-1438) after the death of his teacher, Tsongkapa. The Five Forms are either depicted in one painted composition showing all five forms of Tsongkapa or they are depicted each in their own painted composition making a set of five paintings in total. These forms are commonly seen as minor figures at the top of other compositions such as depictions of Wutaishan Mountain in China, special for Manjushri, and Gelug paintings of all types.

Five Forms:
1. Tsongkapa as a Monk Riding an Elephant
2. Seated on a throne supported by Gods & Goddesses
3. Appearing as Manjushri Riding a Lion
4. Appearing as a Mahasiddha Riding a Lion
5. Appearing as a Monk with a Pandita Hat (standard form)

"From the heart of the Lord of the hundred gods of Tushita, on the peak of a cloud, bright white like a mound of fresh yogurt, Lord of Dharma, Omniscient Lobzang Dragpa, together with sons; please come here." (Gelugpa liturgical verse).

Jeff Watt 1-2014

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: [name and number inscriptions]

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Teacher: Tsongkapa, Five Forms
Publication: Sattvas & Rajas, The Culture and Art of Tibetan Buddhism (Painting)
Teacher: Tsongkapa Life Story Main Page