Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Refuge Field (Vertical Lineage)

Refuge Field Art History

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Refuge Field Vertical Lineage Explanation (below)
- Confusions
- Others...

The line of lineage teachers is typically central to a Field of Accumulation composition. In the Tibetan text commentaries describing the visualizations and practices the teachers are often described as either on a flat plane arranged in a circle around a central figure or stacked vertically above the head of the central figure - Vajradhara or Shakyamuni Buddha. Regardless of how the lineage is described in texts, it is very rarely seen or depicted the same way in painting. The three images below each depict a very rare artistic rendering of a vertical lineage of teachers, the figures appearing as if stacked one above the head of another.

Image #522 appears to be a mixed composition containing Drugpa or Drigung Kagyu and Nyingma iconographic elements. The vertical lineage is on the right hand side of the composition.

Image #99059 depict Sachen Kunga Nyingpo. The vertical lineage is to the lower right and treated as a minor element in the composition.

Image #100617 depicts the vertical lineage directly above the central figure of Vajradhara and consort. There are twelve human teachers beginning above the head of Vajradhara at the bottom and ending beneath Samantabhadra Buddha at the top.

Jeff Watt 2-2013