Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shakyamuni Buddha - Jataka (previous lives)

ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ། 释迦牟尼佛
(item no. 50191)
Origin Location Mongolia
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Buddha

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Shakyamuni Buddha, Previous Life Stories (Sanskrit: jataka. Tibetan: kye rab): from the famous Indian text presenting 34 morality tales drawn from the previous life stories of the historical buddha, Shakyamuni.


#1 The Starving Tigress

A Tale of Compassion, Selflessness, and Generosity.

Born into a family of Brahmans renowned for their purity of conduct and great spiritual devotion, the bodhisattva became a great scholar and teacher. With no desire for wealth and gain, he entered a forest retreat and began a life as an ascetic. It was in this forest where he encountered a tigress who was starving and emaciated from giving birth and was about to resort to eating her own new born cubs for survival. With no food in sight, the bodhisattva, out of infinite compassion, offered his body as food to the tigress, selflessly forfeiting his own life.

Monty McKeever 2-2005


Key Events in the Story

1. The bodhisattva sees a starving tigress.

2. Tigress is about to eat her own cubs.

3. The bodhisattva offers his own body.

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: First.

Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: dang po.


View other items in the Thematic Set: Collection of Zanabazar: Jataka Stories