Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Mongolian & the Tiger

Narrative Art Main Page | Controversial Art

One very polite interpretation of the meaning of this subject is the three, [1] Mongolian man, [2] chain and [3] Tiger, represent the Three Lords of the World, the great bodhisattva - Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani. Wearing the attire of a Mongolian man, sometimes holding a book in the left hand with the right he holds a chain leash restraining a fearsome tiger with gaping jaws.

Another interpretation from the publication 'All Illuminating Mirror' makes reference to the rise of Gelug power in the early 17th century. Paintings of this subject are predominantly commissioned in the Gelug Tradition of Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhism.

Two of the images below are scroll paintings from Mongolia. The third image is of a large wall mural in the Dzong (fortress) of Charang Village, Mustang, Nepal.

The Mongolian and the Tiger narrative should not be confused with the similar depiction of Sogpo Lhapal one of the Twenty-five disciples of Padmasambhava.

Jeff Watt 6-2016