Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Karmapa 6, Tongwa Donden

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 688)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1900 - 1959
Lineages Karma (Kagyu)
Size 83.82x53.34cm (33x21in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1998.2.11
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Monastic

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:P1006

Interpretation / Description

Tongwa Donden, the 6th Karmapa, (1416-1453): practitioner and visionary.

Kar ma pa Biographical Details

The eyes stare with a stern gaze and furrowed brow above. The two hands held at the heart display a gold vajra sceptre and bell. Atop the head sits the black vajra crown ornamented with gold strips and a jewel at the peak. Attired in the orange and red patchwork robes of a monk he sits enwrapped in a red meditation cloak atop a snow lion supported throne decorated with a carved dragon head backrest. The low table in front supports a damaru drum, bowl of sweets, flower vase and a teacup. The ground is adorned with a row of variously coloured wishing jewels and precious objects. At the upper right a snowy mountain range is canopied with upsweeping cloud formations grey in hue.

Born in the Kham region of eastern Tibet like the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa, he was eclectic in study, not only learning the Kamtsangpa doctrines but also familiar with Shangpa, Shije, Nyingma maha ati and Sakyapa teachings. As a student of the Shamar and Trungpa tulkus in turn his main students would be the tulkus Gyaltsab and Situ rinpoches. Endevouring in the creation of a distinct Karma Kagyu liturgical system he also sponsored the publication of individual books and collections. As a tantric practitioner he beheld numerous visions of mahasiddhas, deities and protectors.

Jeff Watt 3-99

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 7
Tradition: Kagyu Teachers (Paintings)
Painting Set: Karmapa Set (14)
Teacher: Karmapa Tongwa Donden, 6th
Incarnation Lineage: Gyalwa Karmapa Main Page