Tibet, shamarpas

Shamarpas represent a branch of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

15th centur, Western Tibet, Shamarpa 2, Kachu Wangpo, gilt copper,

15th century, Western Tibet, Shamarpa 2, Kachö/Kachu Wangpo, gilt copper,

The above sculpture depicts the second shamarpa who lived during the second half of the 14th century. He wears a richly incised monastic garment and has both hands in the ‘calling Earth to witness ‘ gesture.

16th century, Tibet, Shamarpa, gilt copper and pigment, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

16th century, Tibet, Shamarpa, gilt copper and pigment, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Shamarpas sit in the lotus position, wrapped in monastic garments, their head topped with a red crown-like hat with a geometric design at the front (usually a lozenge or three or five circles representing precious jewels, as specified by Jeff Watts on the Himalayan Art Resources website ). They often have their right hand in the bhumisparsha mudra and the left one in the meditation gesture or dhyana mudra, like the historical buddha.

16th century circa, Tibet, labelled as Karmapa,

16th century circa, Tibet, private collection,

16th century, Tibet, Shamarpa 6, Mipam Chokyi

16th century, Tibet, Shamarpa 6, Mipam Chokyi Wangchug, gilt metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Occasionally the crown is missing but there is often an inscription on the back of the sculpture with information about the portrayed person. The above works shows the 6th shamarpa with his right hand in the gesture of understanding and his left hand resting in his lap.

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