Tibet, famous lamas (21)

18th century, Tibet, Marpa, lacquered wood with cold gold and pigments, photo on Fondation Alain Bordier , at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères (Switzerland).

The famous translator Marpa Chokyi Lodro (11th century), instantly recognisable with his layman’s clothes, his thick hair, short neck and distinctive facial features, is often depicted with his hands over his knees.

18th century, Tibet, Gampopa, lacquered wood with cold gold and pigments, photo on Fondation Alain Bordier , at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères (Switzerland).

A young Gampopa Sonam Rinchen (11th century) wearing the full monastic garb and coiffed with the red Kagyu hat. Originally a student of medicine, he became a monk at an early age after losing his wife and child.

18th century, tibet, Longchenpa, painted clay, photo on Fondation Alain Bordier , at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères (Switzerland).

This Nyingma lama, who lived during the 14th century, wrote a comprehensive book on buddhism in Tibet and is regarded as a manifestation of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Sonam Lhundrup, brass with silver and copper inlay, photo Fondation Alain Bordier , at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères (Switzerland).

The famous abbot of Mustang, who is usually shown as a rotund and balding man, does the ‘turning the wheel of law’ gesture with his hands. He has silver-inlaid eyes (with no pupils), copper-inlaid lips, and the border of his garments has silver and copper inlaid motifs.

16th century, Tibet, Tangton Gyalpo, brass, photo on Fondatian Alain Bordier as before , at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères.

The great Tibetan engineer Tangtong Gyalpo, his hair gathered in a topknot with a finial, his  chest bare, the shoulders covered with a meditation cloak, his right hand in the gesture of debate (vitarka mudra) and holding a pill between thumb and forefinger. He would normally have a long-life vase in his left hand rather than another pill.

17th century, Tibet, dpag.bsam dbang.po, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s, sale 17719 lot 232, Paris.

Pagsam Wangpo, who lived during the first part of the 17th century, is identified by an inscription on the base. He wears the tall fan-shaped hat of the Drukpa order and does the gesture of generosity with his right hand. The left hand is in the gesture of debate.

18th century, Tibet, Dragpa Gyaltsen, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Galerie Zacke  .

Dragpa Gyaltsen is depicted as a deified lama, holding a vajra sceptre and a vajra bell in his hands together with the stem of lotuses that support he hilt of a sword and a manuscript. It is the first time we see him with a hat; it has a lotus and jewel finial and is decorated at the front with a visvajra symbol.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Drukpa Kunley, gilt copper repoussé, private collection, photo by Galerie Zacke.

Like other tantric practitioners with eccentric teaching methods, this lama has sometimes been regarded as mad and outrageous yet he became a prominent member of the Tibetan monastic community, and the patron saint of Bhutan – where he is associated with fertility rituals. On this copper plaque he is accompanied by devotees.

Tibet, Marpa Chokyi Lodrö (4)

Photo from ‘Karmapa: 900 years’ by Francisco Marti on issuu.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Marpa, black stone, private collection, photo by Christie’s sale 17719 .

The famous Tibetan teacher and translator is shown meditating in a cave, wrapped in thick garments and a cloak, his thick matted hair combed back, his hands over his knees. He usually wears a long sheepskin garment covering both arms (which indicates he was not a monk).

18th century, Tibet, Marpa, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s, Arts d’Asie 10th December 2019, lot 24.

On this rare work he is seated on an antelope skin atop a single lotus flower.

18th-19th century, Tibet/China (Tibeto-Chinese?), Marpa, bronze, private collection, photo on Capitolium .

Tibet, Kunga Gyaltsen (4)

Late 15th century, Tibet, Sakya Pandita, gilt copper repoussé with cold gold and pigments, is or was at the Mindroling monastery, photo by Verena Ziegler, 2009 on WHAV .

One more from the set of lamdre masters thought to have been made by Khyentse Chenmo around 1460-1470, depicting Kunga Gyaltsen, otherwise known as ‘Sakya Pandita’, without his pandita hat.

15th century, Tibet, Kunga Gyaltsen, gilt copper alloy, at the Tibet Museum in Lhasa, photo by Verena Ziegler as before.

Portrayed as a deified lama, holding the stem of lotuses that support the hilt of a sword and a manuscript, his hands ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘.

15th century, Tibet, Kunga Gyaltsen, gilt metal, Yury Khokhlov collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources .

16th century, Tibet, Sakya Pandita, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Nagel, 16th June 2017.

Undated (circa 16th century?), Tibet, Tsang province atelier, Kunga Gyaltsen, bronze, at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi, photo on HAR .

Tibet, famous lamas (20)

15th-16th century, Tibet, Sönam Tsemo, copper alloy, is or was at the Spituk monastery in Ladakh, photo by Chiara Bellini, here  .  

Portrayed as a deified lama, holding the stem of lotuses that support the hilt of a sword and a manuscript, Sonam Tsemo does the ‘turning the wheel of the law’ gesture (dharmacakra mudra) with his hands close to each other. The long sleeves covering both arms indicate that he was a layman, not a monk. See biographical notes here .

16th century, Tibet, Shakya Yeshe, gilt copper cast and repoussé, private collection, photo by Christie’s, sale 16265 lot 2865. Biographical notes on Treasury of Lives 

This teacher does the same gesture but with his hands apart. He wears monastic garments, that leave his right arm bare.

16th century, Tibet, Sonam Chokyi Langpo, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s, sale 17598 lot 350.

This 15th century teacher, who was to become the 2nd Panchen Lama posthumously, is shown  with his right hand in the gesture of debate (vitarka mudra) and the left hand cupped to hold a manuscript. He wears sumptuous Chinese silk garb including a meditation cloak with a floral motif and an embroidered border that covers his feet, and sits on a brocaded cushion  atop a throne embellished with chased patterns.

16th century, Tibet, lama, possibly Drubchen Kunga Lodra, copper alloy with turquoise inlay, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

Originally labelled ‘Milarepa’, this figure is thought to represent another teacher and is attributed to a Tsang atelier (see HAR  )

17th century, Tibet, Yutog Yontan Gonpo, gilt metal, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources  .

It is not clear if there were actually two lamas with the same name (also spelled Yuthok Yonten) referred to as ‘the younger’ and ‘the older’ but this image is certainly different from the others we have seen so far. Instead of having a mahasiddha appearance he is fully dressed like a layman and his hair is smooth. There is a vase of longevity in his left hand, the right one does the boon-granting gesture.

12th-13th century, Tibet, Dromtön, stone, is or was at the Lima Lakhang of the Potala Palace in Lhasa (Tibet), photo by Ulrich von Schroeder.

A rare and early stone sculpture of Dromtön Gyalwe/Gyelwa Jungne, who lived during the 11th century (see biographical notes on Treasury of Lives ), dressed as a layman.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Pakpa Lodrö Gyeltsen, at the Chenré monastery in Ladakh, photo by Chiara Bellini as above.

We had seen him portrayed as a deified lama, but not as an elderly man with a moustache and goatee. He holds a flaming triple gem (triratna) in his left hand. The right hand does the gesture of debate (vitarka mudra).

15th century, Tibet, Jetsun Khokhlungpa Namkha Rapsel, copper (brass) with copper inlay, at the Chenré monastery in Ladakh, photo by Chiara Bellini as before.

Namkha Rapsel from Khokhlung, holding a round flaming jewel in his left hand.

17th century, Tibet, Jamyang Rinchen, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

.-.-.-

The following, which are part of a set of lamdre teachers from the Mindroling monastery, have been published in the ‘unidentified lamas’ section of this blog, and were originally dated ‘early 16th century’. They have since been identified in A Revolutionary Artist of Tibet by David Jackson, who attributes them to the artist Khyentse Chenmo, and around ‘1460 to 1470’.

photo by Verena Ziegler, 2009 on WHAV.

Sakya master Tegchen Choje, also known as Kunga Tashi (1349-1425), is one of the elderly men in the gilt copper repoussé set. He wears monastic garments and has both hands on his knees.

photo by Verena Ziegler, 2009, on WHAV.

There are several lamas called Sonam Gyaltsen; the lamdre teacher lived during the 14th century (1312-1375) and belonged to the Sakya school of Tibetan buddhism. This work depicts him doing the fear-allaying gesture with his right hand, the left one may have supported a manuscript. A photo of the same sculpture taken by Ulrich von Schroeder in 1992 shows that the cold gold and pigments on the faces were renovated after.

Tibet, Tangtong Gyalpo (4)

15th century, Tibet, Tangtong Gyalpo, copper alloy with traces of gilding, private collection, photo on Marcel Nies .

This masterpiece depicts the famous Tibetan engineer with a mahasiddha appearance, seated on an antelope skin atop a double-lotus base, holding a pill in his right hand and a (missing) long-life vase in the other. Part of his hair is gathered in an elegant topknot adorned with a finial.

15th century, Tibet, Tangtong Gyalpo, copper alloy with (more recent) cold gold and pigments, is or was at the Potala in Lhasa (Tibet), photo on HAR

Seated on a tiger skin, holding the pill at heart level, part of his hair gathered in a large topknot at the front of his head, his facial features painted with cold gold and pigments, the hair dyed blue.

16th century, Tibet, Tangtong Gyalpo? (labelled ‘Virupa’), private collection, photo by Nagel, auction 703a

An elderly man holding a pill in his right hand and a skull cup in the other, with the same type of moustache and goatee, his shoulders covered with a meditation cloak (as on many  Tangtong Gyalpo sculptures).

16th century, Tibet, labelled ‘Thangtong Gyalpo’, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Van Ham  .

Seated on a goat (perhaps in allusion to his days as a shepherd?) atop a rocky formation, leaning on his right hand, a skull cup filled with flames in the other. The inscription on the base just reads ‘Ma Lha’, which may not refer to him. The iconography is certainly unusual.

Tibet, Marpa Chokyi Lodrö (3)

Undated, Tibet, lama, brass with silver and copper inlay, photo on Auction ArtAn elderly Marpa, seated at ease on a cushion covered with a blanket, his thick hair combed back, his clothes covering both arms (indicating that he was a layman, not a monk) and decorated with silver and copper roundels and silver-beaded seams.

16th century, Tibet, Marpa Chokyi Lodro, stone (with cold gold and pigments), photo by Hanhai Auction on HAR .

Few sculptures depict him as a younger man. The above has a moustache and wears earrings. His is seated on a small cushion atop a plinth decorated with a gilt motif and gems. He wears an unusual open-breast garment on top of his gown and a meditation cloak over his shoulders.

17th century, Tibet, Marpa, silver, private collection, photo on Artkhade

This famous Tibetan teacher (lama) and translator (lotsawa) is often shown frowning and with both hands over his knees.

Undated, Tibet Marpa Chokyi Lodro, metal (brass), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources See biographical notes on HAR and on Treasury of Lives

 

Tibet, Jigten Sumgon (Rinchen Pel)

13th century, Tibet, Jigten Sumgon, copper alloy with cold gold, private collection, photo by Andre Lau for Hollywood Galleries .

A brass sculpture of the founder of the Drigung Kagyu school in full monastic attire, one of his bare feet uncovered, his right hand calling Earth to witness, the other held in the meditation gesture, like the historical buddha.

13th century, Tibet, Jigten Sumgon, gilt copper alloy, photo by Bruce M. White, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

Quite a different style, with gilding yet wearing patched garments.

13th century, Tibet, Jigten Sumgon, copper alloy with cold gold, at the Musée Guimet in Paris (France) photo by P. Pleynet, published on issuu

Seated in the same pose, on a stepped lion throne with stone-inlaid visvajras at the top and on the plinth, its backplate or prabhamandala decorated with viyalas, makaras and a garuda at the top…

… a vajra sceptre placed before him on the lotus base.

13th century, Tibet, Jigten Sumgon, gilt copper with cold gold, turquoise, lapis lazuli, glass, is or was at Lhasa (Tibet), published by Ulrich von Schroeder, photo on issuu.

This type of throne seems to have been particularly popular in Tibet during the 13th century to give prestige to famous lamas.