Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama)

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 59963)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Jonang (Sakya) and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Interpretation / Description

Chokyi Nyingje. This composition belongs to a set of paintings depicting the previous incarnations of Jonang Taranata.

At the top right is a female meditational deity, dark in colour and surrounded by flames. She is difficult to identify as there are two different deities that have this almost identical appearance. To make the identification even more difficult - their mantras are also identical. The two are Ekajati and Mahachina Krama Tara. One difference that is noteworthy is the large white skullcup underfoot. This is not mentioned or typically depicted for the Mahachina Krama Tara. It is however commonly found with depictions of the one face and four armed Ekajati. Their descriptions are found below.

"...Ekajati, [with] a body black in colour, one face and four hands. The first two [hands] hold a curved knife and skullcup, the lower right a sword, the lower left an utpala. [With] three eyes and bared fangs, brown hair bristling upwards, swelling breasts and the belly hanging down. Wearing a lower garment of tiger skin. Adorned with a skull and flower garland and ornaments of blue snakes and small bells, etc. Seated in a manner with the left [leg] extended." (Drub Tab Gyatsa, Konchog Lhundrub, 1497-1557).

"...Holy Tara, black in colour, with one face and four arms. The first two hands hold a curved knife and skullcup, the lower right a sword and the lower left an utpala. [With] three eyes and bared fangs. Having brown hair bristling upwards, swelling nipples and a belly hanging down. Wearing a lower garment of tiger skin and adorned with skulls and snakes. Standing on a corpse seat in a manner with the left leg extended." (Drub Tab Gyatsa, Konchog Lhundrub, 1497-1557).

At the bottom center is the female deity having the mantra name of Hara Siddhi. She is dark blue in colour, wrathful, with one face and two hands. In the right and left hands are two kinds of spears. In a standing posture atop a corpse seat she wears a black cloak and surrounded by orange and red flames.

The brocade mount surrounding the painting was changed sometime between the 1960s and the 1990s. The black and white photograph was taken prior to the 1970s shows a different brocade than the current coloured image and recent photo above.

Jeff Watt 9-2012

Reverse of Painting
Special Features: (Cursive script (Umay))

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Painting Set: Taranata Incarnations (Complete Set)
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin (Teachers)
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin
Teacher: Jonang Taranata Incarnations (Miscellaneous)
Collection: Private 1