Geographic Region

Gandhara (ancient)
India & South Asia
Tibet (China)


Academic Studies
Art & Iconography
Bardo: Intermediate State
Block Print Images
Calligraphy & Scripts
Essays & Articles
Exhibitions Worldwide
Glossary Resources
Jataka Stories
Mural Paintings & Site Locations
Museums (Asia)
Museums (Europe)
Museums (North America)
Photo Exhibits
Scholars Worldwide
Stupa: Sacred Reliquary
Symbols (Buddhist)
Texts & Manuscripts
Topic Outline Pages

A Thang ka Portrait of 'Bri gung rin chen dpal, 'Jig rten gsum mgon (1143-1217)
by Amy Heller. Abstract: With this thang ka one can categorically identify ?Jig rten mgon po, also known as ?Bri gung rin chen dpal or ?Jig rten gsum mgon (1143-1217), as the principal subject of a thang ka due to the fact that the inscription is written on the reverse of the canvas.

The Blue Annals
A religious history of Tibet from the early kings of the 1st millennium up to the 15th century. Authoured by Go Lotsawa Zhonnu Pal (1392-1481).

Chronological Conundrums in the Life of Khyung po rnal 'byor: Hagiography and Historical Time
by Matthew T. Kapstein.

Dalai Lama of Tibet
Sonam Gyatso (1543-1588) was the first to bear the title Dalai Lama, a line of successively re-incarnating teachers in Tibetan Buddhism. Gedun Drub and Gedun Gyatso, referred to as the first and second Dalai Lamas, were posthumously recognized as his predecessors. It was the 5th Dalai Lama, also known as the Great 5th, Ngagwang Lobzang Gyatso (1617-1682) that unified Tibet once again into a powerful empire and established the Ganden Podrang Government.

Guruyoga Images in Buddhist Tantric Traditions
Unique to Tantric Buddhism, guruyoga paintings are generally idealized depictions of religious teachers for the purposes of devotional meditation practice.

Incarnation Lineage Paintings
Depictions of lines of incarnate teachers in sets of paintings is very common and made more common by the widespread copying of popular sets from locations such as Nartang, Tibet.

Karmapa: Incarnation Lineage
The Karmapas are a line of successive teachers acknowledged as the first lineage of reincarnating lamas in Tibetan Buddhism. The main seat of the Karmapa is Tsurpu Monastery, north-west of Lhasa, and the specific tradition is known as the Kamtsang Kagyu (Karma Kagyu).

Kings: Buddhist, Hindu & Bon
Kings are an important subject type found in painting and sculpture of Himalayan art. Depicted as royal figures, Kings wear turban-like crowns, layered in sumptuous robes and boots, and sit on lavish decorative thrones.

The Life of Zanabazar (Yeshe Dorje)
The subsequent Mongolian incarnations of Jonang Taranata.

Life Story Painting Sets
Depictions of life stories in one composition or in a set of paintings are a common theme in Tibetan art. Knowing the subjects of these stories is an important key to unlocking the complexities of Himalayan art.

Mahasiddhas are great accomplished ones, or great [spiritually] accomplished ones, also known as Indian adepts, the principal Indian teachers of Hindu and Buddhist Tantra, or any great religious teacher that is credited with having special attainments and powers.

Milarepa: Poet & Saint
Milarepa, the greatest poet saint of Tibet, referred to as the cotton-clad ascetic. He is immortalized in a biography and a text named the 100,000 Songs.

Notes on a Taglung Portrait
A religious hierarch from the Taglung branch of the Kagyu order by Jane Casey Singer. (Please see a similar Taglung Portrait and two lamas in one portrait in the database of this web page).

Credited as one of the three principal individuals to bring Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century along with the Abbot Shantarakshita and King Trisong Detsen, Padmasambhava is represented in many forms and aspects.

Panchen Lama
The Panchen Lamas, closely associated with the Dalai Lamas and the monastery of Tashi Lhunpo, are a line of successively re-incarnating teachers in Tibetan Buddhism. The first Panchen Lama, Lobzang Chokyi Gyaltsen, was the tutor of the 5th Dalai Lama and the most important Gelugpa teacher of his time.

Shakyamuni Buddha: Twelve Deeds
Comparing the various life story painting sets and single compositions with the traditional telling of the twelve deeds of the Buddha.

Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne
Chokyi Gyaltsen (1337-1448) was the first to bear the title of Tai Situ, which was given to him by the Chinese emperor Yung Lo of the Ming Dynasty. Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne was particularly important in the development of Tibetan art for his creation of a new painting style and numerous sets of paintings that have influenced Tibetan painting to this day.

The Six Ornaments & Two Excellent Ones
The Six Ornaments and Two Excellent Ones of the Southern Continent is an epithet given to the most important Indian Buddhist scholars of the Mahayana Tradition. The two foremost are Nagarjuna, founder of the Madyamaka tradition, and Asanga, founder of the Yogachara tradition.

Tsongkapa: Founder of the Gelugpa Tradition
Lama Tsongkapa (1357-1419) was the founder of the Gelugpa School of Tibetan Buddhism. He established the Ganden Monastery which became the principal seat of the school.