Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama)

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 81834)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Bon
Material Metal, Copper Inlay, Silver Inlay
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Interpretation / Description

Namka Gyatso: a Bon Lama of unknown date, of unknown region and unknown lineage affiliations. All that is known about this teacher is what is written in the inscription around the base of the image - naming the figure as Rigdzin Namkha Gyatso.

Seated upright, slightly portly, with silver inlaid eyes a mustache and goatee, he appears slightly older in appearance - possibly depicting a teacher in mid life or later. The right hand is in a gesture of explication or blessing while holding a flower supporting an umbrella-like banner. The left hand is extended across the knee with the palm up, the fingers holding the stem of a flower with the blossom supporting a folio book. The upper torso wears a single robe draped across the left shoulder while a meditation belt goes from the upper right side to the left across the chest. The head is adorned with a variation of the lotus hat of which there are many different types. Long lappets hang to the right and left and the front is marked with a crescent moon and sun. Again, seated in a typical manner, the legs are placed in a cross legged posture, right over left, atop a double lotus base. The Bonpo do not use the Indian Hindu terminology of 'lotus posture' or the Buddhist designation of 'vajra posture.' The Bonpo refer to it simply as a cross legged posture. (See Bon Hats).

The bottom of the sculpture has a metal plate with an incised 'yungdrung' design circling to the left in the manner typical of the Bon Tradition. The Bon prefer a yungdrung although sometimes a wheel is also found on the bottom of Bon sculpture. The Buddhists generally place a double vajra on the bottom and sometimes also an eight-spoked wheel. The date of the Namkha Gyatso sculpture is speculative and it is possible the object is much more recent in time. An inscription is located around the base of the sculpture.

Jeff Watt 4-2006 [updated 4-2011]

Tibetan Printed Script (Uchen)
Wylie Transliteration: rje rbas pa'i rigs dzin nam mkha' rgyam mtsho la. krad nam mkha' rin chen gus pas phyag mtshal lo. bdag sogs pha ma'i tso gyas sems kun rnam. gan mchog khyed kyi grung du grib byans nam. nyur du sads rgyas dgo' phang thob par shog.

Secondary Images
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Bon Teachers Main Page
Sculpture: Tsang Province Atelier (Teachers)
Sculpture: Tsang Province Atelier (Bon Religion)
Sculpture: Tsang Province Atelier, Tibet
Bon: Resource Page
Sculpture: Tsang Province Atelier (RMA)
Collection of RMA: Selected Sculpture
Bon Sculpture Masterworks
Sculpture: Meditation Belt (Monastic & Lay)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Bon Artworks
Teacher: Late Period Sculpture (17th - Present)