Identified through an inscription around the base, Palden Gonpo holds a manuscript in his left hand and does the fear-allaying gesture with the other.
The painted facial features add singularity to the portrait of this lama.
It is unusual for a lotus base to have two rows of beading on the lower rim. This, along with the style of the petals and the draping of the garments, tell us that the piece was made around the seventeenth century (rather than before).
This lama, possibly a hierarch, appears to be seated with his legs pendant (no feet showing), on a tiger skin over a lotus placed on a quadrangular plinth with beading and scrolls at each corner. His lotus hat is decorated with a crescent moon and sun symbol at the front and a half vajra on top. He holds a long-life vase in one hand and does the teacher gesture with the other.
This master, who holds a large manuscript on his lap, displays the hairstyle of the togden, Tibetan yogi practitioners who used to live in caves (the female equivalent is togdenma). The long strands of matted hair are usually coiled on top of the head but may be skilfully braided to form a very elegant headdress, as above.