Himalayan Art Resources

Incarnation Lineage: Shamarpa Main Page

Shamarpa Main Page | Karma Kagyu Main Page

Subjects & Topics:
- Shamarpa Description (below)
- Shamarpa Outline Page
- Unidentified Shamar Images
- Shamarpa Hats
- Yangpachen Monastery
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

List of Shamarpa Incarnations:
1st Shamar, Dragpa Sengge (1283-1349) Biographical details
2nd Shamar, Kacho Wangpo (1350-1405) Biographical details
3rd Shamar, Chopal Yeshe (1406-1452) Biographical details
4th Shamar, Chodrag Yeshe (1453-1524) Biographical details
5th Shamar, Konchog Yanlag (1525-1583) Biographical details
6th Shamar, Chokyi Wangchug (1584-1630) Biographical details
7th Shamar, Yeshe Nyingpo (1631-1694) Biographical details
8th Shamar, Palchen Chokyi (1695-1732) Biographical details
9th Shamar, Konchog Gewai Jungne (1733-1740) Biographical details
10th Shamar, Chodrub Gyatso (1741/42-1792) Biographical details
11th Shamar, Jamyang Rinpoche (1892-1946) Biographical details
12th Shamar, Mipam Chokyi Lodro (b.1952) Biographical details

The Shamarpa incarnation lineage dates back to the year 1283 when Rangjung Dorje, the 3rd Karmapa, presented his principal disciple, Kedrub Dragpa Sengge, with a red hat identical in shape to his own black hat. The title Shamarpa, means 'Holder of the Red Hat'. The seat of the Shamarpas is Yangpa Chen Monastery just north of Tsurpu Monastery, seat of the Karmapas. The Shamarpa incarnation lineage was banned by the Tibetan government of Lhasa after 1792 and the death of the 10th Shamar. An 11th Shamar was born as the son of the 15th Karmapa and the 16th Karmapa officially recognized the 12th Shamar, Mipam Chokyi Lodro.

In the standard Karma Kagyu Golden Garland Lineage (ser treng) there are six Shamarpa Lamas represented: 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th.

The red hat of the Shamar lamas is unique in Tibetan Buddhism and patterned on the black hat of the Karmapas. The cloud pattern on the right and left side almost always trails to the back. The ornament on the front is either a three jewel emblem or a five jewel emblem (the latter reminiscent of a double vajra). For sculpture a simple diamond shape is also common for Shamarpa, Karmapa, Tai Situ and Gyaltsab. Observing 20 images, both painting and sculpture, of the Shamarpa on the HAR site - 3 have a simple diamond emblem, 6 have a three jewel emblem and 10 have a five jewel emblem, and one has a double vajra emblem.

Jeff Watt 4-2004 [updated 3-2017, 4-2017]