Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Margapala/Lamdre Lineage [1] (Ngor set)

Ngor Lamdre Set 1 | Margapala Lineage Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Margapala/Lamdre Lineage [1] (Ngor set) (below)
- Ngor Lamdre Set 1 List
- Secondary Lineages List
- Confusions
- Others...

The Sakya School maintains hundreds of lineages of Buddhist teachings that were propagated by Indian scholars and siddhas. Considered the most important of these teachings is the 'Path Together with the Result' (Sanskrit: Margapala. Tibetan: lam dre bu tang che pa). The images below represent paintings from the same set gathered from numerous collections around the world.

The important iconographic elements of each composition are:
1. Central Figure (and lineage affiliation)
2. Surrounding Lineage
3. Secondary Deities
4. Bottom Register Deities
5. Miscellaneous ornamentation, throne, minor deities

Inscriptions:
1. Four Line Verse below bottom register
2. Name inscriptions for each lineage figure
3. Back of painting: location positioning inscription
4. Back of painting: prayer and mantra inscriptions

Each composition depicts a single figure from the lineage of teachers of the Sakya Margapala/lamdre lineage. The set as a whole depicts the entire Lamdre lineage up to the time of its creation - likely in the late 16th century based on the last two teachers often being the 8th abbot of Ngor, Muchen Sanggye Rinchen (1450-1524), followed by the 10th abbot of Ngor, Ngorchen Konchog Lundrub (1497-1557) and Drangti Namkha Palzang (d.1602). (See the Five Superior Teachers).

The figures in the top and side registers represent an entire lineage depicted in each single composition. These initiation and teaching lineages are the next most important in the Sakya tradition. Examples are the three Chakrasamvara cycles of Luipa, Krishnacharin and Ghantapada, the three cycles of Guhyasamaja, Dakarnava and Mahakala, to name only a few.

The bottom register of many of the known compositions contain a varying number of different deities. In at least one example there are no bottom register deities at all. These deity figures follow the descriptions of meditational deities as described in the Drub Tab Gyatsa edited version of the Bari Gyatsa. The Bari Gyatsa is an 11th century compendium of meditational deity practices composed by Bari Lotsawa Rinchen Drag (1040-1112 [P3731]). The edited version was composed by Ngorchen Konchog Lhundrub (1497-1557) - the last or second to last figure in many of the compositions of the Ngor Lamdre painting set.

For a detailed essay see the Seton Kunrig and Avadhutipa compositions.

Jeff Watt 12-2012 [updated 8-2017]

Bibliography:
Christie's - Amsterdam, April 1994, Lot 52 & 53, pages 35-37.