Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Indian Teacher - Nagarjuna

རྒྱ་གར་གྱི་མཁས་པ། མཁན་ཆེན། 印度的祖师
(item no. 565)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Kagyu and Karma (Kagyu)
Size 43.18x30.48cm (17x12in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.41.1
Painting School Palpung / Situ
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Monastic

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:P4954

Interpretation / Description

Nagarjuna, Arya (Tibetan: pag pa lhu drup): founder of the philosophical system known as Madhyamaka, the Middle Way School. His exact dates are not known but it is generally believed he lived around the time of the 1st and 2nd centuries C.E.

Relaxed in appearance, he wears the robes of a fully ordained monk and with the right hand raised performs the gesture of blessing. The left hand is extended outward in the gesture of generosity. The waterfall and pond at the lower right are a visual reference to Nagarjuna having received the Prajnaparamita Sutra from the under water realm of Naga spirits. At the top right is the bodhisattva Manjushri, yellow in colour, with the two hands performing the gesture of teaching.

The composition of this painting is based on a set of 9 paintings created by Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne (1700-1774).

Jeff Watt 6-2003

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Indian Adept: Mahasiddha Paintings, Palpung Composition
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 3
Painting Set: Mahasiddhas, Indian Adepts - Palpung Composition II
Subject: Indian Scholar (Buddhist)
Painting Style: Kham Region (Kham-ri)
Indian Scholar: Nagarjuna Main Page