Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Dragpa Gyaltsen (Jetsun)

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 67)
Origin Location Central Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Sakya
Size 55.88x38.10cm (22x15in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1994.8.9
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Lay Person

Gender: Male

TBRC: P1614

Interpretation / Description

Dragpa Gyaltsen (1147-1216): the Fifth Throne Holder of Sakya and the third son of Sachen Kunga Nyingpo. An inscription at the lower left states that the composition was drawn (painted) by by the artist Pema Namgyal.

Biographical Details

With a faint smile and a slightly rugged appearance he has short curly brown hair on the head, a growth of facial hair and long pierced earlobes absent of earrings. The right hand is placed to the heart holding upright a gold vajra and the left supports a bell upturned in the lap. Wearing variously coloured garments typical of a layman he is also free of adornment and ornamentation indicative of the vows of a celibate layman (upasaka). With the lower body wrapped in a red meditation cloak he sits comfortably on a wide cushion seat with a dark blue backrest and pink areola. In front a small table supports decorative objects and at the left side another table holds two initiation vases. To the right a twisted brown trunk snakes upward bursting with foliage and fruit serving as a canopy for Dragpa Gyaltsen and as a seat for the Three Lords.

At the top center is the peaceful bodhisattva of wisdom, Arapacana Manjushri, orange in colour, holding upraised in the right hand the sword of wisdom. The left holds to the heart the Prajnaparamita folio book. To the left is the bodhisattva of compassion, Padmapani Avalokiteshvara, white, the right hand supports the body in a relaxed posture and the left extended across the knee holds the stem of a lotus blossom. To the right is the bodhisattva of power, Vajrapani, blue, with the left hand pressed to the seat and the right extended across the knee holding the stem of a lotus blossom supporting a gold upright vajra. These three collectively known as the 'Lords of the Three Families' represent the wisdom, compassion and power of all the buddhas of the three times and ten directions. The origins of this threefold model are found in the framework of Kriya Tantra classification.

At the bottom right is the wealth deity yellow Jambhala, mature with facial hair and corpulent, he holds a bijapuraka fruit extended in the right hand in the mudra of generosity. With the left hand he grasps to the side a brown mongoose expelling precious jewels. Adorned lavishly with gold ornaments and silks he rests the right foot on a conch and gold treasure vase while seated on moon disc and pink lotus blossom. The foreground is strewn with bales of cloth, wishing jewels and precious objects.

At the left in front of a twisted tree, kneeling reverentially, a monk wearing orange and red robes offers a gold mandala plate respectfully held with a white scarf. Surrounded by a wealth of offering riches and a precious jewel on the table in front, the remaining Seven Royal Jewels adorn the foreground; wheel, minister, queen, elephant, horse and general.

Jeff Watt 1-99

Front of Painting
Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: Sor mo''i ''du byed padma bi dzas bris.

Reverse of Painting
Special Features: (includes "Om Ah Hum" inscription)

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery VI
Tradition: Sakya Teachers
Tradition: Sakya Founders
Teacher: Dragpa Gyaltsen Page
Subject: Five Superior Lords
Subject: Three White Ones