Tibet, Panchen Lamas (2)

17th century, Tibet, Lobsang Chokyi Gyaltsen Pelzangpo, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The first panchen lama (hierarch from the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism) is seated on a blanket over two square cushions, his ample garments covering his legs and feet. His right hand does the teaching gesture.

17th century, Tibet, Lobsang Chokyi Gyaltsen Pelzangpo, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

On this image his right hand touches the ground (like the historical buddha ‘calling Earth to witness’).

17th century, Tibet, Lobsang Yeshe Pelzangpo, 2nd Panchen Lama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The second panchen lama (or 5th, depending on the system used to list them) is depicted with a bowl in his left hand.

18th century, Tibet, fifth panchen lama, Lobsang Yeshe Palzangpo, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Lempertz.

When a lama is portrayed during his life time he usually sits on a blanket over three cushions. It seems that as time goes by he is depicted on two, then one cushion only.

18th century, Tibet, panchen lama, silver, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This deified lama holds the stem of lotuses, one supporting the hilt of a sword (to his right) and the other supporting a manuscript (to his left).

 

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Tibet, Shamarpas (3)

15th century, Tibet, Shamarpa, stone, Nyingjei Lam collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

The shamarpas of the Karma Kagyu school adopted the lotus hat of the karmapas but theirs is red and has a triple gem (triratna) motif on the front panel. The above sits on a lion throne with a large wheel of dharma at the centre. He is surrounded by various figures of different sizes including other lamas.

16th-17th century, Tibet, fifth shamarpa, Konchok Yenlak, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

An inscription at the back of this sculpture identifies the character as the fifth shamarpa.

17th century, Tibet, 6th Shamarpa, made by the tenth karmapa (Chöying Dorje).

The decoration of the hat includes a cloud motif on the sides.

Undated, Tibet, shamarpa, gilt metal with turquoise inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Tibet, Karmapas (6)

14th century, Tibet, karmapa, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

This endearing figure is coiffed with the lotus hat worn by Karma Kagyu hierarchs, traditionally black and decorated with a visvajra (or a lozenge representing a visvajra) on the front panel, and clouds at the side. The border of his monastic garments is incised with a wavy pattern.

16th century, Tibet, karmapa, copper with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Tessier Sarrou.

To confuse the issue, this character wears a red lotus hat associated with other hierarchs (such as shamarpas and situpas) and traditionally decorated with jewels at the front, but his displays a visvajra.

17th-18th century, Tibet, labelled ‘possibly the first karmapa’, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Castor Hara.

The first five karmapas are thought to have worn a small black cap before the black lotus hat became their headdress (see the Himalayan Art Resources page on Hats of the Himalayas). This personage wears an ornate foliate crown with rosettes and ribbons, a half-vajra finial on top of his head, beaded jewellery and a ritual apron over his ample silk garments. He holds a vajra and ghanta crossed over his heart. The sculpture probably depicts him performing a ritual ceremony.

 

Tibet, various dalai lamas (2)

16th-17th century, Tibet, possibly the 2nd dalai lama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

He holds a book in his left hand and does the teaching gesture with the other. The lotuses on each side support a vajra sceptre and a vajra-handled bell (ghanta). His voluminous silk garments are decorated with an incised border.

Undated (circa 16th century?), Tibet, Gendun Gyatso (2nd dalai lama), gilt metal, at the Tibet House museum in Lhasa (Tibet).

16th-17th century, Tibet, Gendun Gyatso, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonham’s.

17th century, Tibet, Gendun Gyatso, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Circa 18th century, Tibet, 3rd dalai lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

The third dalai lama is depicted with a pointed hat and plain monastic garments. There is a vajra sceptre in his right hand and a ghanta in the other.

Late 17th century, Tibet, 5th dalai lama, gilt bronze (copper alloy), at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

This vivid portrait of the fifth dalai lama shows him holding a dharma wheel  in the palm of his left hand.

18th century, Tibeto-Chinese, 5th dalai lama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.Here, the face is painted with cold gold and pigments and the hair dyed black. The prong in his left hand is all that remains from the object he once held (a book according to Sotheby’s). The seams of his patched robe are incised with a floral pattern and his cloak is decorated with dragons, the latter indicating that the piece was made for a Chinese patron.

Tibet, karmapas (5)

16th century, Tibet, karmapa, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel.

The double thunderbolt sceptre (visvajra) at the front of his hat identifies this lama as one of the past karmapas (head of the Karma Kagyu school of buddhism).

16th-17th century, Tibet, karmapa, gilt copper, is or was at the Jokhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

We can see from this image that there is a crescent moon + sun symbol above the visvajra, and a lotus bud finial at the very top. His face is painted with cold gold and pigments, the hair is dyed blue.

17th century, Tibet, karmapa, private collection, pulbished on Himalayan Art Resources.

Since no name is written on the base, it is impossible to say which of the past karmapas this is. There had only been 10 karmapas by the 17th century (all men), some of them easy to identify, others whose features vary considerably. We have seen a sculpture of Mikyo Dorje, the 8th karmapa, with a  similar bone structure but this may be someone else.

17th century, Tibet, karmapa, Same.

An obviously younger man, with a different bone structure.

17th-18th century, Tibet, karmapa?, labelled shamarpa, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

In theory, the shamarpa hat is red, with a triple gem at the front (but we have seen some who have a visvajra and are identified through an inscription on the base of the sculpture) and with clouds on the sides, near to the front panel. This unknown personage could be a karmapa.

Tibet, Karmapas (4)

14th-15th century, Tibet, Karma Pakshi, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The 2nd karmapa wears plain monastic clothes and the (black) hat of the Kagyu order. The absence of gilding and the fact that the waist of his lower garment isn’t visible help date the piece.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Karmapa 2, gilt copper alloy, at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.

After the 15th century, part of the waist of the lower garment shows (over the vest and under the robe, at chest level) and the clothes often have an incised hem.

17th century, Tibet, Karmapa 9, Wangchuk Dorje, copper alloy (labelled ‘silver’) and gilding, at the Liverpool Museum (UK).

This karmapa, with different facial features and no goatee, holds a manuscript in his left hand. He sits on an embroidered cushion covered with a cloth.

17th century, same as before, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The same man wearing fine garments with an incised foliate pattern.

 

Tibet, Shamarpas (2)

Undated (15th-16 century?), Shamarpa 4, Chodag Yeshe Palzang, Tibet, metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

A silver statuette of the 4th shamarpa with the skin painted in cold gold, the facial features with pigments, wearing the red shamarpa hat, his hands setting the wheel of dharma into motion, possibly made during his lifetime, with an inscription on the back that identifies him.

17th century, Tibet, Shamarpa 5, Konchog Yanlag, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Wrapped in full monastic robe with a richly incised hem, the 5th shamarpa does the teaching gesture with his right hand and holds a long-life vase in the other. One would expect the hat to be red, which is the distinction between shamarpas and karmapas of the Kagyu order.

Same as before, photo by Sotheby’s, dated to the 16th century on Himalayan Art Resources,

We see him here holding the long-life vase in both hands, his vest decorated with a geometrical pattern, his outer robe with a chased floral hem, his legs wrapped in a meditation cloak with an incised floral motif. His hat displays a triratna (triple gem) at the front and is topped with a crescent moon and sun plus a (lotus bud?) finial.

17th century, Tibet, Shamarpa 6, Mipam Chokyi Wangchug, gilt metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

The 6th shamarpa wears the full monastic robes and has his meditation cloak folded over his left arm, the hat is missing. His left hand is stretched to hold an attribute, probably a long-life vase (or a manuscript) now lost.

Same as before, silver, photo by Sotheby’s.

This rare silver sculpture depicts the same squared-jawed 6th shamarpa seated on a cushion covered with four layers of cloth.

His hat is decorated with the visvajra, crescent moon and sun symbols.