Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Tsongkapa

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 65799)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # From the collection of Mr. & Mrs. Warren Wilds
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Monastic

Gender: Male


Interpretation / Description

Lord Tsongkapa, Lobsang Dragpa (1357-1419): founder of the Gelugpa School, emanating from the heart of the bodhisattva Maitreya.

Tsongkapa Biographical Details

In the appearance of a monastic scholar with a yellow pandita hat and the orange patchwork robes of a fully ordained monk he performs with both hands the mudra of Dharma teaching at the heart while holding the stems of two lotus flowers blossoming at both ears supporting on the right a wisdom sword and at the left a book. With the two legs folded in vajra posture he sits upon a moon disc and pink lotus seat surrounded by an ornate gold nimbus of wishing jewels and rainbow spheres. At the front, to the right and left of a begging bowl, sit the two close disciples of Je Rinpoche, Gyaltsap Dharma Rinchen (1364-1432) and Kedrup Geleg Pal Zangpo (1385-1438). Both wear monastic robes and yellow hats each holding a book in the left hand while the right hands assume postures of explication of the teachings.

"From the heart of the Lord of the hundred gods of Tushita, on the peak of a cloud, bright white like a mound of fresh yogurt, Lord of Dharma, Omniscient Lobsang Dragpa, together with sons; please come here." (Gelugpa liturgical verse).

At the top center seated in a western style with the legs in front is Maitreya flanked on both sides with Dipamkara Atisha to the left and Tsongkapa to the right. Below them at the right and left are Vajrabhairava Heruka and Akshobhya Buddha. At the top on the viewers left are the three Buddhas of the Three Times: Shakyamuni, Dipamkara and Maitreya. On the right are the Three Long-life Deities: Amitayus, White Tara and Ushnishavijaya. At the lower left is Green Tara accompanied by Marichi and Ekajati. At the lower left is Chaturbhuja Avalokiteshvara with two accompanying figures.

At the bottom center is wrathful Vajrapani surrounded by flames. On the left is the protector Yama Dharmaraja, blue-black in colour, with the head of a buffalo, holding a bone stick and lasso. Embraced by the consort Chamundi he rides on the back of a blue buffalo surrounded by flame. On the right is White Shadbhuja Mahakala with one face and six hands.

Jeff Watt 10-2007

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: No inscriptions.

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Teacher: Tsongkhapa Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 4
Teacher: Tsongkapa (Descending from Tushita)