Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Refuge Field, Cho (Block Print Model)

Subject: Refuge Field, Cho

In the 19th century a wood block carving was made at the famous Dege Printing House in Kham, Tibet. The carved block depicted the Field for the Accumulation of Merit for the lineage teachers and deities of the Cho (Chod) Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism following the lineage of Machig Labdron (1055-1153). It has been suggested that this composition is based on a textual description composed by Karma Chagme (1613-1678).

Video: Chod Refuge Field

Not all of the images below are block prints. Possibly only HAR #81877 and #202809. The other examples are following the block print model. A number of other examples are recorded in museums around the world.

The landscape format style of painting HAR #223 follows the same iconographic program and positioning for the figures as the other Dege Printing House models. This painting is extremely important because each figure is identified and named with a written Tibetan inscription for each.

On a bank of clouds at the left side are the main gurus and lineage teachers of Chod and Shije (Cutting and Pacifying). This is not an actual sequential and chronological list but rather all of the important teachers from various lineages that practiced Chod, be it the oral tradition or the various Nyingma 'Treasure' traditions that arose later. At the center is the Indian Padampa Sanggye, brown in colour, holding a damaru and shinbone horn. Above is Padmasambhava and above that Vajradhara, blue in colour. Descending from left to right is Tilopa, Naropa, Lion's Speech Manjushri, Sukhasiddhi, Asanga, Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Saraha, Virupa, Karma Pakshi, Dombi Heruka, Gya Nag Cherbu, (unidentified), (unidentified), Drolo Lama, Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, Cheton Darma, Gyagam Cherton, Kong Lo'i Zilnon and Kyoton Sonam Lama.

All of the image examples below follow the same arrangement of teachers located at the middle left side of the composition.

Jeff Watt 12-2021