Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Dalai Lama V, Ngagwang Lobzang Gyatso

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 65275)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Monastic

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:P37

Interpretation / Description

Ngagwang Lobzang Gyatso, the 5th Dalai Lama (1617-1682) surrounded by scenes depicting his life story from birth to death. The story begins at the viewers top left and moves counter-clockwise to the viewers top right.

Dalai Lama Biographical Details

He holds to the heart a vajra scepter and the stem of a lotus blossoming over the right shoulder supporting a small figure of Padmasambhava. The left hand holds an upturned bell and the stem of a lotus blossoming over the left shoulder and supporting a small figure of Tangtong Gyalpo.

Wearing a yellow pandita hat and a meditation cloak he sits atop a cushioned throne with a table of ritual objects in front.

The Life story of the 5th Dalai Lama is told in the surrounding narrative vignettes beginning at the top right of the central figure and moving downwards counter-clockwise ending at the top left. (See the Numbered Narrative Image).

1. Descent from the Potala pureland of Avalokiteshvara followed by birth and a rainfall without clouds.
2. Flight from danger and an assasination attempt by the Tsang rulers. Although he escaped, his mother was murdered.
3. Debating on philosophical topics.
4. Visiting the location where Panchen Lobsang Chogyan was recognized.
5. A vision of Jowo Atisha and Tsongkapa.
6. Recognized by Panchen Lobsang Chogyan and Tri Rinpoche Kunchog Chophel after a divination (lottery draw) at Reting Monastery.
a. Receiving teachings from teachers like Kur and Mondro.
b. Some sort of fight or altercation, possibly with the Mongols.
7. Refused blessing to a Mongolian Lama.
8. Welcomed to Ganden Podrang by Desi Sonam Chophel and others.
c. The start of the Potala Palace construction.
9. Sera Monastery.
10. Ganden Monastery.
11. Giving teachings at the Jowo Lhakang in Lhasa.
12. Visiting Beijing and meeting with the Chinese Emporer.
13. Passing away. Before his death, the Dalai Lama told Desi Sangye Gyatso to keep his death a secret by saying he was in retreat.
14. During retreat, the Dalai Lama appeared by manifesting in the form of a crow.
15. The teacher Lhundrub.

(Inscriptions are written in gold lettering beneath each narrative vignette).

Jeff Watt 2-2005

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: (Inscriptions explaining all of the narrative vignettes are written beneath each scene).

Reverse of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: Left ten. Gyalwa Lobzang Gyatso.

Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: gyon bcu''is pa rgyal ba blo bzang rgya mtsho.

Special Features: (Printed script (Uchen))

Secondary Images
Related Items
Exhibition Appearances
Exhibition: Faith & Empire - Art & Politics in Tibetan Buddhism

Publication: Selection of Works - Painting (RMA)

Thematic Sets
Collection of RMA: Painting Masterworks Page
Collection of RMA: Persons Masterworks
Subject: Narrative Examples (Greyscale)
Subject: Life Story Paintings Main Page
Teacher: Dalai Lama V (Masterworks)
Painting Set: Dalai Lama Incarnation Lineage (RMA/Hahn)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art (RMA): Main Page
Incarnation Lineage: Dalai Lama Main Page
Teacher: Dalai Lama V, Lobzang Gyatso Page
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection 2
Teacher: Dalai Lama (Masterworks)