Himalayan Art Resources

Indian Scholar: Atisha Main Page

Atisha Masterworks

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Atisha Biography
- Identifiable Mahasiddhas
- Indian Scholars Main Page
- Six Ornaments Main Page
- Confusions
- Others...

Video: Lord Atisha

Characteristics:
- Monastic Robes
- Pandita Hat
- Stupa (right side)
- Travel Bag (left side)

Atisha (982-1054), often preceded with the Tibetan word 'jowo' meaning lord, was a Buddhist scholar from the Bengal region of India. As a monk he wore the garb of a renunciate and a pandita hat. Typically he holds the two hands to the heart in a teaching gesture. He is very often seen with a stupa at his proper right side and a travel bag on the proper left side, although these are common they are only established through artistic and iconographic convention.

There are a number of different traditional contexts for the depiction of Jowo Atisha. He can appear in a solitary form, also in a series of lineage teachers, as one of the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas and in a set of compositions depicting his life story. In modern times he has been included in a new grouping known as the Seventeen Scholars of Nalanda. Atisha was in Tibet at the same time as Rinchen Zangpo and his principal student was Dromton Gyalwai Jungne with whom he is often pictured in paintings and sculptural triads.

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Jeff Watt [updated 10-2017, 1-2020, 4-2022]

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