Tibet, Tsongkhapa (6)

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo on Bonhams

16th-17th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Florence Number Nine (see below).

17th-18th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Florence Number Nine

This famous master is usually depicted as a deified lama, seated with his legs locked and holding the stem of lotuses that support a book to his left and the hilt of a sword to his right, his hands doing the ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ gesture.

17th c., Tibet, Tsongkhapa, bronze+cold g., 9,5 cm, Cambiaste

17th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, bronze with cold gold, private collection, photo on Cambiaste

He normally wears the pointed hat of the Gelug order, which he founded.

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Tibet, Tsongkhapa (5)

17th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Polyauction

This famous Tibetan teacher is usually depicted like a deified lama, holding the stem of lotuses that support his attributes (the hilt of a sword and a manuscript) at shoulder level while doing the ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ gesture.

The above is seated on a double-lotus base, reminiscent of the Zanabazar style (Mongolia), with a stippled lotus motif on the rim and a row of stamens at the top.

17th c., Tibet, Tsongkhapa, silver, 5 cm, Cambiaste

17th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, silver, private collection, photo by Cambiaste

The lotuses may be two open ones, two closed ones (blue lotuses) or one of each. This tiny work (5cm) was probably made for a portable shrine.

18th c., Tibet, Tsongkhapa, silver, 10 cm, London sothebys

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

This figure holds a manuscript in the left hand and does the teaching gesture with the other, an unusual iconography for Tsongkhapa.

Tibet, Tsongkhapa (4)

Circa 1423, Tibet, Ganden Chokor Monastery, Tsongkhapa, gilt copper alloy, in The Mystical Arts of Tibet, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

The founder of the Gelugpa order may be depicted under various forms. The main one is that of a monk seated in the vajra position, wearing a pandita hat, his hands turning the wheel of dharma.

15th c., Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze, 18,7 cm, diamond stippled pattern at hem, sil. or iron sword, lapis l. manuscript, Christie's

15th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

He holds the stem of two lotuses, one supporting the hilt of a sword and the other a manuscript.

The above flaming sword is made of silver or iron and the manuscript is made of lapis lazuli. His heavy patched robe is decorated with an engraved floral pattern, stippled, engraved and beaded hems.

15th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Bonhams.

On early sculptures one of the lotuses may of the blue variety (utpala), which never fully opens.

Sin título

17th-18th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt copper repoussé and cast parts, at the Freer Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC (USA).

When he is not wearing the pointed cap of the Gelugpa order, his hair is often dyed black. The above has cold gold and pigments on his face. He holds the stem of fully open lotuses fastened at shoulder level.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Lempertz.

In many cases the lotuses have leaves or tendrils that spring from his elbows

18th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The manuscript to his left may be topped with a flaming pearl.

Tibet, Tsongkhapa (3)

15th-16th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

An endearing portrait of the 14th century Tibetan lama Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelugpa order, without the pandita hat, his face painted with cold gold and pigments.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

As is customary in Tibet, the lama’s right arm is bare. The blue lotuses on each side of him support the hilt of a sword and a manuscript topped with a pearl. His hands do the ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ gesture and holds the stem of lotuses fastened to his elbows and shoulders.

18th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Koller.

When depicted as a lama on a lotus base, his legs are always locked in the vajra position.

18th century, Tibet (labelled ‘China on HAR), Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy) and cold gold, private collection.

Traditionally he wears a peaked cap with long flaps over the ears known as pandita hat.

Tsongkhapa, Tibet, 18th century, gilt copper, at the national gallery in Prague (Czech Republic).

He is normally portrayed with bare feet.

16th century or later (probably later), Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Lempertz.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Tsong Khapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, same as before.

Tibet, Tsongkhapa (2)

14th century, Tibet, Tsong Khapa, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

16th century, Tibet, Tsong Khapa, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

An exceptional sculpture of Tsong Khapa (1357-1419), founder of the Gelug order. He is seated in the lotus position, his body tightly wrapped in patched garments made of long strips of metal. He wears a meditation cloak and the pointed hat of his order, and holds the long stem of two lotus flowers attached to his elbows. The lotus to his left supports a manuscript. His large and beautifully-made hands do the ‘turning the wheel of dharma’ gesture (dharmacakra mudra). The hem of his robe is finely incised with a lotus design (see below). He has the face of an old man, with sunken eyes and wrinkles on his forehead.

Tsong Khapa, Tibet, 14th c., detail

15th century, Tibet, Tsong Khapa, brass, photo by Bonhams.

15th century, Tibet, Tsong Khapa, brass, photo by Bonhams.

An equally exceptional portrait of a youthful but pot-bellied lama, seated on a typical 15th century lotus base. His hands in the dharmacakra mudra, he holds the long stem of two  lotuses, one supports a manuscript topped with a flaming pearl, the other has the hilt of a sword stemming from it. The hem of his robe and his meditation cloak are finely incised with lotus flowers, his eyes are inlaid with silver. The inscription on the base identifies him as Tsongkhapa.

Tibet, Tsongkhapa

16th century, Tibet, teacher Tsong Khapa, gilt copper alloy, private collection.

16th century, Tibet, teacher Tsong Khapa, gilt copper alloy, private collection.

The founder of the Gelugpa order is sometimes represented as a deified lama, holding two long-stemmed lotuses, one topped with a manuscript and the other with a lotus bud. Here he is sitting on a small double-lotus base with almost rectangular petals and only one row of thick beading, bare-headed, his eyes closed in rapture, his hands in a symbolical gesture, wearing a monastic robe with an incised hem. The double-lotus base is decorated with two snow lions.

16th century, Tibet, Tsong Khapa, dark metal with copper inlay, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

16th century, Tibet, Tsong Khapa, dark metal with copper inlay, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

This is a similar representation but with a different mudra or hand-gesture, the smiling face and the arms are painted with cold gold, the lips and eyes are painted with pigment, there are traces of blue and green pigment on the lotuses and two small gemstones. The hem of the garment is delicately incised with a floral pattern. The double-lotus base is decorated with snow lions.