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Entries Tagged as Lineages

Early Paintings of Teachers

May 29, 2013 ·

A gallery of early paintings of Buddhist teachers spanning the 11th to 14th centuries. In later paintings primarily after the 14th century when large central figures are facing to the right or left it most often implies that the painting belongs to a set of compositions depicting a series of lineage teachers. In those cases the entire set of compositions is intended to be displayed together as a unit - a single work of art made up of many individual compositions.

The images in this gallery appear to be essentially single compositions intended to stand alone. In the Taglung style paintings of Kagyu themes for example the secondary figures at the top are uniformly the early Dagpo Kagyu Lineage. The secondary figures at the sides and bottom register are also fairly uniform and generally include the following figures: miscellaneous lineage teachers, Eight Mahasiddhas, Four Guardian Kings, Chakrasamvara, Vajrayogini, Hayagriva, Aparajita, Jambhala, Mahakala and Shri Devi Dorje Rabtenma.

Tags: additions · Lineages

Four Figure Composition 'Lamdre' Lineage Painting Sets

February 04, 2013 ·

The artistic convention of placing four lineage teachers in each composition - register based - of a multi-painting set is found almost exclusively within the Sakya Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and most popular in the 15th and 16th centuries. Register based compositions almost completely disappear after the 17th century with the introduction of the Floating Figure composition which remains popular right up to the present time. No examples of four figure composition lineage painting sets for the Nyingma, Kagyu or Gelug traditions could be found in the HAR database. Of course it is possible that other and perhaps earlier examples will be discovered that will change our understanding of the subject.

Tags: additions · Lamdre · Lineages · painting

Religious Hierarchy & Art in Buddhist Traditions

January 08, 2012 ·

This List of religious traditions, sub-schools and lineages below is intended to identify the traditional leadership structure of each tradition down to the present time. The current title and name of the leader has been added where possible. Following the name of the tradition and leader is a brief description of the known art and relevance for the tradition.

This is a work in progress with more names, content and links to be added.

Tags: additions · Lineages

Lineage Types in Himalayan Art

December 22, 2011 ·

The subject of lineage is one of the most common topics and visual depictions in Tibetan and Himalayan art. The two most commonly portrayed lineage types, in both painting and sculpture, are Teaching & Initiation Lineages followed by Incarnation Lineages. The more famous the lineage the more often it will be found represented in works of art.

The subject of lineage is best approached through the Three Essential Lineage Topics:
1. Definition & Three Similar Words
2. Three General Types of Lineage
3. Three Buddhist Traditions & Lineages

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Incarnation Lineage Paintings Outline

January 21, 2010 ·

A unique characteristic of Himalayan style art is the creation of painting and sculpture sets as a single large composition. A second unique feature of Himalayan art is the creation of Incarnation Lineage paintings and painting sets. The notion of the same recognized human or living entity, such as the Dalai Lama, knowingly inhabiting a series of bodies through numerous generations is unique to Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhism. Therefore, Incarnation Lineage paintings and sculpture sets are a unique feature of Himalayan & Tibetan Style Art.

Fortunately for the purposes of study a number of the important incarnation lineages fall into natural groupings. The first group is concerned with the first recognized, or accepted, incarnate lama of Tibet, commonly said to be the Gyalwa Karmapa. Within the over-all tradition of the Karmapas, the Karma Kagyu Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, there are also the incarnate lineages of Shamar, Situ, Gyaltsab and Nenang Pawo. These five lineages of incarnations all belong to the same religious tradition and naturally form there own group. According to tradition, added to those are the Karma Tinlepa and the Treho Tulku although so far no painting or sculpture sets have been found that depict the two unique additional incarnation lineages.

The second important group is that of the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Desi Sanggye Gyatso. The foundations for these incarnation lineages were developed at the same time in the 17th century and seemingly as a coherent inter-connecting group of three with each incarnation in a generation relating directly with the other incarnations. Examples of this inter-relationship are the Panchen Lama pre-incarnation of Atisha and the Dalai Lama pre-incarnation of the student Dromton. At the time of the 4th Dalai Lama the Desi pre-incarnation was Altan Khan who first used and offered the title 'Dalai Lama.'

Another natural group related in life and in incarnation lineage is Jamyang Kyentse Wangpo and Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye.

In each composition that depicts a complete incarnation lineage the central figure is surrounded by the previous incarnations. The earliest of these pre-incarnations for each central subject is almost always an Indian Adept (mahasiddha), a great Worthy One (arhat), or a bodhisattva such as Maitreya as with the Tai Situ incarnation lineage. Each of these originating pre-incarnations is a direct student of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Sometimes there are competing systems for enumerating and naming the former births. One such notable figure that has two variant lists, or an abbreviated list and a long list, is the Panchen Lama of Tibet. The long list of Panchen Lama pre-incarnations includes Padmasambhava and Jowo Atisha. The Dalai Lama list includes King Trisong Detsen and Dromton. The 8th Tai Situ of the Karma Kagyu Tradition apparently also claimed to be the re-incarnation of Taranata from a completely separate unrelated incarnation lineage system belonging to the Jonang Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The 32nd Sakya Tridzin Wangdu Nyingpo also boasts Padmasambhava as a pre-incarnation and claims to be the 2nd Padmasambhava of this 'age.' Both the Gelug Longdol Lama and the Karma Kagyu Tai Situpa claim to have the pre-incarnations of both Dombi Heruka and Marpa Chokyi Lodro in common.

The incarnation lineages, names and groups of related figures discussed here are only those that have identifiable works of art depicting those individuals. There are hundreds of other incarnation lineages in Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhism. It is possible that many of the paintings of Lamas that are currently unidentified are actually incarnation lineage paintings.

Incarnation Lineages Outline Page

Google Tags: Himalayan Art Resources

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Lamdre Lineage Art Sets

November 13, 2008 ·

Most of the paintings depicting an individual, or several individuals, in one composition are invariably from lineage sets. At any given time sets of paintings in total number are likely to account for more than half of all Himalayan and Tibetan style art. On the HAR site we have already tried to put the Arhat sets of paintings back together where ever possible. Amongst the various 'Lama' sets there are many paintings that belong to the Lamdre lineage, an important subject of the Sakya Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The Lamdre Lineage Outline Page organizes some of these partial sets and makes the work of recognizing new Lamdre paintings easier. There are currently more Lamdre images in the queue waiting to be uploaded onto the HAR website. Many more images are known but HAR hasn't yet been able to gain the required permissions to exhibit these images on the website.

Tags: Lamdre · Lineages · Sets