Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Life Story Paintings (Transition/Iconogra

Life Story Paintings (Transition/Iconography) | Life Story Paintings Main Page

5. Transition of Life Story into Iconography: a number of popular subjects of life story paintings have transitioned from depictions of simple biography and narrative into easily recognizable iconic forms. These forms are then presented as clearly defined and described subjects of Guruyoga rituals and meditations. Iconic forms of historical figures are also used as chronological indicators representing a specific time, place and event in the biography. A series of iconic forms for a single historical figure are then substituted for the complete biography and acts as a succinct mnemonic device representing the entire life of the individual. Examples of this can be found with Padmasambahava and the eight forms, Virupa and the six forms and Tonpa Shenrab and the twelve forms.