Himalayan Art Resources

Item: King - Trisong Detsen

རྒྱལ་པོ། 国王
(item no. 774)
Origin Location Central Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Uncertain
Size 88.90x69.85cm (35x27.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1998.22.7
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: King

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Trisong Detsen (740-798): the Tibetan King that firmly established Buddhism in Tibet, emanation of the bodhisattva Manjushri, having invited Padmasambhava from India, and built the first monastery - Samye Chokor Ling. The wisdom sword and book are supported atop two lotus blossoms.

At the bottom left is King Songtsen Gampo (618-650), emanation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, with the crown of the headdress adorned with the red face of Buddha Amitabha. Held in the right hand is the stem of a pink lotus blossoming above the shoulder.

At the bottom right is King Ralpachen (815-836), emanation of the bodhisattva Vajrapani, holding the stem of a lotus supporting a gold vajra scepter.

These three are known as the three Dharma Kings and each holds, or has in front, a golden Dharma wheel symbolizing the teachings of Buddhism.

Jeff Watt 7-2001

Secondary Images
Related Items
Iconography: Eleven Figurative Forms Page

Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 8
Kings: Main Page & King Appearance
King: Trisong Detsen (Tibet)
Subject: Abbot, Acharya and Dharma [King]
Kings: Tibetan Kings Main Page
Tibet: Samye Monastery Main Page