Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Sachen Kunga Nyingpo

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 459)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Sakya
Size 36.83x26.97cm (14.50x10.62in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1996.16.2
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Lay Person

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:P1615

Interpretation / Description

Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158): the foremost Lama of the Sakya School, 3rd throne holder of Sakya.

Sa chen kun ga nyin po Biographical Details

Compassionately smiling with the composure of an elder the right hand is extended forward in the gesture of generosity while the left holds to the heart the stem of a lotus flower blossoming at the left ear. Wearing flowing garments of various colours in the manner of a layman he sits, emanating a blue nimbus and red areola, atop a moon disc and white lotus seat rising on a thick green stem above a blue lotus pond.

At the top right is Sonam Tsemo (1142-1182), the eldest son of Sachen, shown in a youthful manner with long black hair, performing the teaching gesture with the two hands. To the left is Dragpa Gyaltsen (1147-1216), the second son, holding a vajra in the upraised right hand and a bell held in the left and cradled in the lap.

At the bottom right is Kunga Gyaltsen (1182-1251), the Sakya Pandita, grandson to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo. With the hands in the teaching gesture at the heart he holds the stems of two utpala flowers blossoming at both ears supporting a wisdom sword and book. Wearing the red hat of a pandit he is attired in the robes of a fully ordained monk. At the left is Pagpa Lodro Gyaltsen (1235-1280), Chogyal Pagpa, the nephew of Sakya Pandita, the first monastic ruler of Tibet. With the right hand raised in the gesture of blessing in the left he holds a Dharma wheel in the lap. Wearing the red pandit hat he also is attired in the robes of a fully ordained monk. Along the bottom are rows of wishing jewels, auspicious and precious objects arranged as offerings.

These five as a group are called the 'Jetsun Gongma Nga' (the Five Reverend Superiors) of Sakya. The three laymen are known separately as the 'Karpo Nam Sum' (the Three White Ones). Sakya Pandita and Chogyal Pagpa are known as the 'Marpo Nam Nyi' (the Two Red Ones). At the time of these five lamas the family line which was known by the name 'Lha Rig' and 'Khon' also became known as Sakya ("White Earth") after the place where Khon Konchog Gyalpo had established his religious center.

Jeff Watt 9-98

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
Tradition: Sakya Teachers
Tradition: Sakya Founders
Teacher: Sachen Kunga Nyingpo Main Page
Subject: Five Superior Lords
Subject: Three White Ones