Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Tsongkapa

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 65802)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1900 - 1959
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Size 71.12x48.26cm (28x19in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Monastic

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:P64

Interpretation / Description

Lama Tsongkapa (1357-1419): founder of the Gelugpa School, with the two principal students, Gyaltsab on the left and Khedrub on the right. [See brocade mount and Tsongkapa Outline Page].

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 gesture 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 multi-coloured lotus seat surrounded by a blue nimbus. At the front, to the right and left, 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.

"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 Lobzang Dragpa, together with sons; please come here." (Gelugpa liturgical verse).

At the top center is the blue primordial Buddha Vajradhara with Shakyamuni Buddha on his right and blue Medicine Guru Buddha on the left. Again at the right and left are 'Very Secret' Hayagriva, red, with three faces and six hands and blue Vajrapani in his wrathful appearance.

At the left side is Yama Dharmaraja, blue in colour, standing atop a buffalo. At the right is Vaishravana, guardian king of the north, riding a lion.

At the bottom of the composition from the viewers left to right are the special protectors of Sera Monastery: Dorje Ta'og, unidentified, Dorje Shugden and Karma Shar Chatri Chenchig.

Jeff Watt 10-2007

(See Christies March, 2001. New York. #23786).

1. Je Tsongkapa
2. Gyaltsab
3. Kedrub
4. Vajradhara
5. Shakyamuni Buddha
6. Medicine Buddha
7. Hayagriva
8. Vajrapani
9. Yama Dharmaraja
10. Vaishravana
11. Dorje Ta'og
12. Unidentified
13. Dorje Shugden
14. Karma Shar Chatri Chenchig

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Teacher: Tsongkhapa Main Page
Iconography: Monastic Appearance
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 4
Buddhist Deity: Dorje Shugden (Gelug, Minor Figure)
Collection of RMA: Persons Masterworks
Subject: Teacher Painting Page
Teacher: Tsongkapa (Painting Masterworks)