Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Milarepa

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 89903)
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: Lay Person

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:P1853

Interpretation / Description

Milarepa: the great poet yogi of Tibet accompanied by six siddhas, according to the Vajrasana System of the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas, in the surrounding landscape of the composition. The painting belongs to a much larger composition of an unknown number of paintings with only one other painting from the set identified - a Je Tsongkapa as a Mahasiddha. This means that all five of the special forms of Tsongkapa would be represented as central figures in this Mahasiddha Painting Set. It also means that we know of six central figure identifications for this set. There are six mahasiddhas per composition which works out to a painting set of fifteen paintings.

Mi la re pa Biographical Details

At the top center is Arya Nagarjuna. At the bottom center riding a lion is Simhapa. At the bottom left side is Luipa.

The painting set was commissioned by a follower of the Gelug tradition as is evidenced by the Five Forms of Tsongkapa made obvious by the Tsongkapa as a mahasiddha riding the tiger. The style of painting is Eastern Tibetan with mixed elements of New Menri and Kham-dri. The shading on the rock outcroppings with the blue, green and light brown is very reminiscent of Lhatog (Khampa Gar) style. The region where the paintings were made is very likely to be in Kham on the west side of the river opposite Dege and somewhere between the major Gelug centers of Dragyab and Chamdo.

Jeff Watt 1-2016

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Teacher: Milarepa Main Page
Subject: Guruyoga Iconography Page
Painting Set: Eighty-four Mahasiddhas (Milarepa & Tsongkapa)
Collection: Bonhams New York (Painting. March 14, 2016)
Collection: Private 1
Tradition: Kagyu Founding Teachers