Himalayan Art Resources

Kings: Tibetan Kings Main Page

Kings & King Appearance Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Tibetan Kings Description (below)
- Masterworks
- Tibetan Kings & Ministers Masterworks
- Tibetan Kings List
- Three Kings of Tibet
- Songtsen Gampo
- Trisong Detsen
- Tri Ralpachen
- Gesar Dorje Tsegyal
- Ligmincha
- Tibetan Queens
- Gar Tongtsen (Minister to Songtsen Gampo)
- Ministers
- Confusions: Indian Kings, Thomi Sambhota
- Others...

The Three Great Kings of Tibet are often depicted in painting together as a triad: Songtsen Gampo, Trisong Detsen and Tri Ralpachen. Tibetan kings can generally only be distinguished from Indian kings by inscription on a sculpture or by context in a painting. Narrative stories are the primary source for king depictions along with the Mani Kabum.

'King Appearance' in Himalayan art is a specific type of figurative form. The principal characteristics are the face often with a stern look achieved by upturned eyebrows accompanied by a mustache and goatee. The clothing is heavy and layered with multiple colours, a cloth head covering or hat sometimes with a small jeweled crown, and boots on the feet. They can hold all types of objects in their hands. (See King & King Appearance Main Page).

Jeff Watt 10-2012 [updated 3-2020]

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).