Himalayan Art Resources

Artist: Sonam Gyaltsen & Atelier (Sculpture)

Sonam Gyaltsen Masterworks

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Sonam Gyaltsen & Atelier Description (below)
- Sonam Gyaltsen Works
- Subjects List (Iconographic)
- Tsang Atelier (Ungilded)
- Densatil Style
- Atelier Works
- Artist Page
- Confusions: Densatlil style, 15/16th century Nepali style
- Others...

* All of the images below are related by observed stylistic elements only. And only a single sculpture below has an inscription naming the master artist Sonam Gyaltsen. In the future it may be possible based on style, inscription and other factors to further divide the sculpture into more defined catagories of named artists works and different ateliers and workshops active in the Tsang Province in the 15th century. Currently there are two dominant sculpture styles of Tsang Province in the 15th century. The first and most common style which also extends to the 20th century is the un-gilded sculpture style. The second is the style of Sonam Gyaltsen and atelier, later copied by others. The two styles differ dramatically in the portayal of the figures body, jewellry, ornamentation and decoration. A major distinction is in the design of the lotus base.

The artist Sonam Gyaltsen lived during the first half of the 15th century. He was commissioned to do work for the Rinpungpa Lord Norbu Zangpo (1403-1466) and his younger brother Palzang. Both brothers were students of the famous Sakya teacher Zhonnu Gyalchog (birth 14th century [P1943]). This teacher was also a direct student of Je Tsongkapa Lobzang Dragpa (1357-1419). (For more information about the only identified inscribed work see HAR 61516).

Works by this sculpture artist and atelier are most easily recognized by the shape of the leaves on the lotus base, pattern incizing around the base (of some figures), incizing on the garments, crown and jewelry, and the delicate front hairline of the peaceful deities.

(There are four or more works that are cross listed as Densatil sculpture style. These works require further study. Late Densatil sculpture have more variety in the lotus base and ornamentation of the figure).

Jeff Watt 3-2018 [updated 6-2018, 2-2020]