Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Hats (Gelug)

Hats - Religious Traditions

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Gelug Hats Outline Page
- Pandita Hat
- Hat of Tsongkapa Lobasang Dragpa
- Panchen Lama Hat
- Black Hat of Choje Shakya Yeshe
- Hat of Changkya Rolpai Dorje
- Gelug Art History & Iconography
- Confusions
- Others...

Video: Gelug Hats

The principal religious hat of the Gelug tradition worn by teachers and scholar is the pandita hat with a yellow colour. The pandita hat is common to all Buddhist Himalayan traditions and believed to have originated in India. The various traditions are differentiated by the colour of the hat along with slight changes in roundness, or pointed peak. The are several origin stories explaining the Gelug adoption of the yellow pandita hat with possibly the most credible being the borrowing of the hat and colour from the Shalu monastery where the dark yellow hat is claimed to be traditional.

The Panchen Lama Chokyi Gyaltsen, aside from being depicted with the pandita hat, wears a fan-like hat that appears to be unique at the time. In later centuries Changkya Rolpai Dorje and Jetsun Dampa are depicted with this hat as well as the pandita hat. Choje Shakya Yeshe, the founder of Sera monastery, was gifted a black hat by the Yongle emperor of China in the early 15th century. It does not appear that other Gelug teachers adopted the black hat and therefore remains specific to Shakya Yeshe.

There are examples, although few, of various hats that seem unique or are based on Chinese cap-style hats (see example). In a single example Kalzang Tubten Jigme is depicted wearing an initiation crown.

Jeff Watt 9-2020

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