Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shakyamuni Buddha - Shakyamuni

ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ། 释迦牟尼佛
(item no. 83401)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Buddha

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Shakyamuni Buddha (Tibetan: sha kya tu pa, sang gye. English: the Enlightened One, Sage of the Shakya Clan) together with teachers above and figures below.

Sanskrit: Buddha Shakyamuni Tibetan: Sang gye sha kya tu pa

Formal in appearance, he gazes forward with partially closed eyes and the blue-black hair on the head is piled in a tuft on top with a single gold ornament adorning the crown. Between the eyebrows is a white dot and adorning the neck are three slightly curved lines. The earlobes are long and pierced. With the right arm bare the hand is extended across the knee in the earth touching gesture. The left performs the gesture of meditation palm upward in the lap. Across the left shoulder is an orange patchwork robe imprinted with designs in gold. A similar lower garment is tied at the waist with a blue sash. The legs are folded in vajra posture, right over left, above a moon disc, pink lotus blossom and a snow lion supported throne. Rays of light emanate from the body and the head is surrounded by a green aureole. In front, a low table is arranged with a large Dharma wheel, offerings of a precious jewel, a water flask and an incense bowl.

Standing slightly behind the throne are the two principal students of the Buddha, Shariputra and Maudgalyayana. They both hold a kakkara staff and a black begging bowl. In front are two monks presenting a mandala offering of the universe and a plate of peaches.

"Born in the Shakya race through skillful means and compassion;
destroying the army of Mara who was unable to be destroyed by others;
with a body radiant like a mountain of gold;
Homage to you, King of Shakya." (Sakya liturgical verse).

At the top center is Vajradhara Buddha, blue in colour, with an Indian mahasiddha on the right and left. At the top left is a teacher of the Gelug tradition, white Vajrasattva and Medicine Buddha. Below those three is the meditational deity Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja. At the top right side is a teacher of the Gelug tradition identified by his yellow pandita hat accompanied by Akshobhya Buddha and Vairochana Buddha. Below those three is Chakrasamvara and the consort Vajra Yogini.

At the bottom left, gold in colour, is a seated Maitreya Bodhisattva, holding above two white flower blossoms the two attributes of a Dharma Wheel and a water flask. Seated on the right side is Manjushri with the attributes of a sword and book. At the bottom center of the composition is the fierce protector deity Shadbhuja Mahakala, blue in colour, with one face and six hands, surrounded by orange and red flames.

Iconographic Elements of the Painting: Size, Descending Order & Hierarchy:
- Shakyamuni Buddha, the Two Principal Disciples & Two Attendants above a throne
- Vajradhara Buddha & Two Mahasiddhas (top center)
- Four Figures (top left)
- Four Figures (top right)
- Maitreya & Manjushri (bottom right & left)
- Protector Deity , Shadbhuja Mahakala (bottom center)

Artistic Elements of the Composition:
- Subject: figurative
- Composition Type: floating figure
- Painting Style: mixed - New Menri & Kham-dri
- Region: East Tibet
- Date: circa 1800
- Inscriptions: none visible front or back
- Special characteristics: none on the back
- Artist: Trehor Namkha Gyan

Jeff Watt 12-2015

Buddha Form | Female Form | Wrathful Form

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Shakyamuni Buddha: Art History
Painting Tradition: Kandze Valley & Trehor Namka Gyan
Exhibition: Buddha Form (DM)
Shakyamuni Buddha: Main Page
Collection of Dhargye Museum
Region: China (Museums & Monasteries)
Collection of Dhargye Museum (Painting Gallery 1)
Shakyamuni Buddha, 释迦牟尼佛:, ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ། Painting (Masterworks)