|Origin Location||Eastern Tibet|
|Date Range||1800 - 1899|
|Lineages||Karma (Kagyu) and Buddhist|
|Material||Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton|
|Collection||Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art|
Youthful in appearance and maintaining a formal posture, he holds the two hands to the heart in the Dharma Teaching mudra (gesture) - symbolic of an eight-spoked Dharma wheel. Attired in the orange and red patchwork robes of a monk, the lower body is wrapped with a meditation cloak. The head is adorned with the black vajra hat, symbol of the Karmapa Lamas - a gift of the Dakinis. Atop a cushioned seat and jeweled throne with an elaborate backrest, the head is encircled by a dark green aureola. A red table in front supports a gold water flask, teacup, and the like. The ground in front is strewn with wishing jewels, red coral, ivory tusks and varieties of precious objects.
At the top center is the buddha Amitabha, gold in colour, with the two hands placed in the lap performing the mudra of meditation. On the left is Khasarpani Avalokiteshvara, gold in colour, with the right hand extended across the knee performing the mudra of generosity. The left holds to the heart the stem of a lotus blossoming over the left shoulder. On the right side is Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava holding to the heart a vajra and a skullcup in the lap with the left, wearing the robes of the three vehicles and atop the head a lotus hat.
At the upper sides are two monastic figures attired with robes and red caps signifying a high position in the Kamtsangpa tradition. On the red hat figure on the proper left side is depicted in the iconographic appearance of the 10th Shamar Rinpoche (1741-1792). Below at the sides are similar figures, with the figure on the proper left wearing a lotus style hat of the Nyingma similar to those of Shechen tradition. The Shamar, Gyaltsap and Situ lamas of the Karma Kagyu tradition typically wear the red hats, in a similar style to the black hat of Karmapa.
At the bottom center is the fierce protector, Black Cloak Mahakala, with one face and two hands holding upraised in the right a curved knife and a skullcup to the heart with the left, wearing flowing garments, surrounded by flames of pristine awareness. A skullcup is offered in front. On the right is the female wrathful protector, Shri Devi, blue-black, with one face and four hands riding a mule. On the left is the worldly daemon, Oath Bound Blacksmith, with one face and two hands riding a brown goat. The background is sparse with rolling green hills and open landscape extending to the fore.
(The subject of the painting was earlier identified on the HAR website as Mikyo Dorje, the 8th Karmapa (1507-1554). It has now been changed as of the last date below to Dudul Dorje, the 13th Karmapa (1733-1798) as the most likely candidate. On the Huntington Archive the subject is identified as Rangjung Dorje, the 3rd Karmapa. It is not known if there are name inscriptions on the front of the painting).
Jeff Watt 6-1999 [updated 2-2011]