Himalayan Art Resources

Painting Set: Indian Adepts (84) - Palpung Composition

Mahasiddha Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Mahasiddha Outline Page
- Abhayadatta Outline
- Jonang Tradition
- Jonang Taranata Text
- Masterworks
- Others...

Important Points for Consideration:
1. Iconography of figures
2. Composition
3. Decorative elements
4. Stylistic features
5. Earlier examples and sets
6. Features unique to Palpung

Eleven Painting Sets:
Center, painting 1: 99215, 65420, Buddha and Consort
R1, painting 2: 15432, Avalokiteshvara Jinasagara
L1, painting 3: 73421, Vidyadhara ...
R2, painting 4: (no example), Manjushri, Yamantaka
L2, painting 5: 492, Avalokiteshvara, Hayagriva
R3, painting 6: 57823, 23233, 33569, Vajrapani, Achala
L3, painting 7: 73418, 1069, Maitreya, Aparajita
R4, painting 8: 15434, 18513, Sarvanivarana Vishkambhin, Kamaraja
L4, painting 9: 73419, 99227, Akashagarbha, Niladanda
R5, painting 10: 15433, Kshitigarbha, Mahabala
L5, painting 11: 65598, 191, 15435, Samantabhadra, Chakravartin

Only one complete set (11) of early paintings is thought to exist and it belongs to the Nenang Pawo Labrang of the Karma Kagyu Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. This set was exhibited at Tibet House, New Delhi, in 1965. In total there are approximately 23 paintings known that follow the Palpung composition.

The depictions of the Eighty-four Mahasiddha of the Abhayadatta System are based on the documented descriptions of Jonang Taranata (1575-1635) as commissioned and painted as murals in the Puntsogling Monastery, Tibet (Text title: grubs thob brgya bcu rtsa bzhi'i 'bri tshul bzhugs so).

The miscellaneous paintings, associated stylistically with Palpung Monastery, below belong to several different sets each comprised of eleven paintings per set. For earlier versions of this iconographic design see paintings HAR #58969 and the Musee Guimet paintings - MG 21241, MG 21242, MG 21243, MG 21244, MG 21245.

Eleven painting composition set re-construction

The unique iconographic feature of this set is the placement, at the top of the composition, two deities and the Eight Great Bodhisattvas along with the Eight Wrathful Ones of the directions (each with one face and two arms).

Jeff Watt [7-2017]