Subject: Combined Painting Number Sets (Examples)
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Example 1. Twenty-one Taras Painting Set
: in this set the composition and subject of each painting is an excellent example of combining five different Buddhist number sets together: (1) Tara, (2) Panchen Lama, (3) Meditational Deities, (4) Wisdom Protectors and (5) Worldly Protector Deities. The central figure of each of the twenty-one paintings is a (1) Tara - a specific form of Tara as stipulated in the Atisha Tradition. In the upper right hand corner of each composition is a depiction of a (2) Panchen Lama or previous incarnation of a Panchen Lama - thus incorporating the Panchen Lama number set. In the upper left hand corner of each painting is a principal (3) meditational deity of the Gelug Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. At the bottom center of each is a principal (4) wisdom protector deity of the Gelug Tradition. At the lower left and right sides are the (5) minor protector deities of the Gelug pantheon. Example 2. Shakyamuni Buddha & the Sixteen Arhats
: in this set the composition and subject of each painting is an example of combining three different number sets together. The central figures of each composition belong to the Shakyamuni and Sixteen Arhats number set. At the upper right or left corner (alternating) is a principal meditational deity. At the middle and lower portions of the composition are depictions of three mahasiddhas from the number set of the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas according to the Vajrasana system. The complete painting set would comprise seventeen compositions. Example 3. Shakyamuni Buddha & the Sixteen Arhats
: in this set the composition and subject of each painting dominates the lower portion of the composition and a second subject dominate the top half of the composition. Shakyamuni Buddha and the Sixteen Arhats are the subject of the lower portion and the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas are the subject of the upper portion of this is five painting set. Example 4. Karma Kagyu Mahamudra Lineage
: in this set the composition and subject of each painting is a teacher belonging to the Karma Kagyu Lineage of the Mahamudra teachings. In the upper right or left corner is a meditational deity specific to the Karma Kagyu tradition and at the bottom is a protector deity also special to the tradition. It is very common when painting sets of lineage paintings to include the principal deities and protectors as minor subjects in the composition. Lineage paintings in general and Refuge Field paintings are the two subject types most helpful in understanding the important subjects and pantheon of the various traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.