Himalayan Art Resources

Painting Sets: Main Page

Subject: Art Sets Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Painting Types (size, format, etc.)
- Singles, Sets & Series
- Five Subjects (below)
- Outline Page
- Life Story Outline
- Sets: Index/Glossary
- Sets Resource Page
- Mahasiddha Painting Sets
- Others...

- Painting Sets
- Painting Sets: Part 2
- Painting Sets: Part 3, Numbers
- Painting Sets: Part 4, Life Story
- Paintings Sets: Lineages, Part 1
- Paintings Sets: Lineages, Part 2
- Paintings Sets: Lineages, Part 3

Five Subject Types for Painting Sets:
1. Number Sets
2. Life Story (Narrative)
3. Lineage: Teaching, Tradition & Incarnation
4. Tantric Cycle
5. Compendium: Collections of Tantric Cycles
6. Miscellaneous Sets

Painting sets account for at least half or more of all Himalayan and Tibetan painted compositions making sets a unique feature of Himalayan Art. There are five major types of painting sets. There is also some overlap between Tantric Cycle, Compendium and Number Sets.

The most famous sets of paintings are Shakyamuni Buddhas & the Sixteen Great Arhats, followed by the Life-story, Previous Life-stories (jataka) and Teaching Stories (avadana) of the Buddha. The life-story of Padmasambhava condensed into the Eight Forms, along with the Milarepa and Tsongkapa life stories are also quite common.

The Teaching Lineage painting sets of the Sakya Lamdre (Margapala) and the Karma Kagyu Mahamudra Lineages (sertreng) are the most common.

For the Incarnation Lineage painting sets the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Jonang Taranata are the most common.

Miscellaneous Subjects include Shakyamuni Buddha & Sixteen Great Arhats, Six Ornaments & Two Excellent Ones, Eighty-four Mahasiddhas, Twenty-one Taras, Vajravali Deity set, Sarvadurgati Parishodhana, Four Transcendent Lords, Twelve Ritual Deities, etc.

Jeff Watt 6-2010 [updated 7-2020, 10-2023]