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.

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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, Thangtong Gyalpo (4)

15th century, Tibet, Thangton 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, Thangtong 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, Thangtong 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  Thangtong Gyalpo sculptures).

16th century, Tibet, labelled ‘Thangton 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.

Tibet, famous lamas (18)

16th-17th century, Tibet, Tsugla(g) Gyatso, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on AJ Speelman.

Identified through an inscription on the base, Tsuglag/Tsuklak Gyatso, the third ‘pawo rinpoche’, holds a manuscript in his left hand and displays a wheel incised in the palm of his right hand, whose fingers express debate/teaching.

18th century, Tibet, Gampopa, painted wood, at the Newark Museum (USA).

The founder of the Kagyu order is depicted with a wide gaze and frowning eyebrows, his right hand calling Earth to witness, the other in the gesture of meditation.

16th century, Tibet, Tsang province, Kunga Drolchog, metal (brass), is or was at the Matho monastery, photo on HAR , biographical notes on Himalayan Art

A portrait of a deified Kunga Drolchog holding the stem of lotuses that support a vajra sceptre and a bell.

Undated (circa 16th century?), Tibet, Kunga Drolchog, bronze with turquoise inlay, item 7891 on HAR.

The same lama, holding a flaming jewel in his left hand.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Jamyang Palden Rinchen, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s

An inscription on the lotus base identifies this Tibetan teacher who, according to Sotheby’s, lived during the 15th century.

18th century, Tibet, Dragpa Gyaltsen, gilt bronze with silver and copper inlay, at the British Museum in London (UK).

This teacher usually holds a vajra sceptre and a bell in his hands crossed over his heart and wears a layman’s attire (covering both arms).

See biographical notes on HAR

 

Tibet, Zhangton Chobar (2)

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Shangton Chobar, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

When smiling, this lamdre teacher has a characteristic gap between his upper front teeth.

Undated (circa 15th century), Tibet, Shangton Chobar, (gilt) metal, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

A very similar portrait, with his mouth closed (and visible nipples).

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

This figure with an elongated torso and thin waist is identified as Shangton/Zhangton Chobar through an inscription at the back of the lotus base. See biographical notes on Treasury of Lives

Tibet, Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen (2)

15th century, Tibet, Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, metal private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

Almost identical to a 15th century brass sculpture with silver and copper inlay at the Fondation Alain Bordier (seen in a previous post) this work depicts the fourth abbot of the Jonang monastery as a plump elderly man wearing the full monastic garb and holding a rosary in his left hand.

His nails, rosary, some upper seams and the symbols (mostly Kalachakra tantra letters) on his clothes are inlaid with silver; the border of his garments is inlaid with copper.

15th century, Tibet, Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, metal (brass), private collection, photo on HAR

Another almost identical work, without silver inlay. His rosary, the decorative elements and the border on his clothes are inlaid with copper.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, painted clay, private collection, photo on Peaceful Wind

Undated, Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen and disciples, (painted clay?), is or was at Gyantse (Tibet), photo on Jonang Foundation