One of these two men is Thonmi Sambhota, one of Songtsen Gampo’s seven ministers, accredited for the creation of the Tibetan script. The other is Gar Tongtsen (see Treasury of Lives ). They are both dressed in regal attire, including a cloud-shaped cape worn over a long sleeve outer garment, a truncated turban similar to those worn by the king, earrings, and thick felt boots.
King Songtsen Gampo, who founded the Tibetan empire during the 7th century, is said to have five wives but only two of them are regularly depicted by his side (both Buddhist princesses, whom he married for political reasons).
Princess Bhrikuti Devi, from Nepal (Licchavi dynasty), wears a long silk garment fastened with a belt and an outer robe that covers her head and both shoulders. She is adorned with a headband and matching earrings.
Princess Wencheng, from China (Tang dynasty), wears a long-sleeve silk top tied with a belt, a small cape with a vajra design, a long lower garment with a lotus print. She is adorned with a very elegant headdress and diamond-shaped earrings.
Dressed in Kingly attire and adorned with floral earrings and a short necklace, Songtsen Gampo wears the same type of truncated turban topped with the head of Amitabha as a sculpture of him kept at the Potala seen in a previous post (compare here ). Both works depict him without a moustache.
We saw a photo of this sculpture but it was undated and showed only the king. This image shows his foreign wives, Princess Bhrikuti, of Nepalese origin, and Princess Wencheng, of Chinese origin.
A rare sculpture of the legendary king Ge-Sar of Ling. Depicted as a warrior on a horseback, he holds a bow and a quiver in his right hand, a staff with a banner in the other. (See about the epic of King Gesar here ).
One of the three great ‘dharma kings’ (thus named because they actively contributed to establishing Buddhism in Tibet), Songtsen Gampo is easily identified through the effigy of Amitabha on top of the turban usually worn by earlyTibetan kings. Adorned with princely jewellery and a five-leaf crown, his feet covered with thick felt boots, he holds a flaming wheel in his left hand and the stem of a lotus in the other, which makes the gesture of debate. We saw another two late works depicting a Tibetan king with one side only of his overgarment flowing upwards.
Trisong Detsen holds a dharma wheel in his left hand and the stem of a lotus topped with the hilt of a sword.
It is the first time we come across a sculpture of king Ralpachen, identified by his beard and the vajra sceptre on the lotus in his right hand, as specified by Sotheby’s. Like the other two, he has a dharma wheel in his left hand.
This personage seated on a throne supported by snow lions and decorated with lotus buds at the corners wears the garments and headdress of a Tibetan king, and is classified as such on Himalayan Art Resources. Yet, according to Christie’s, an inscription on the reverse of the base identifies him as Kalyanasri or Kushalasri ‘the splendid Dharma king of the holy Buddhist country (India)’. Kalyana Shri was king of Bengal and the father of Atisha; dge.ba’i.dpal is his name in Tibetan. His hands are held before his chest as if to hold a wish-granting gem.
Like most images of Songtsen Gampo, 33rd king of Tibet and founder of the Tibetan empire, this personage wears a turban shaped like a truncated cone topped with Amitabha’s head. He is seated on an antelope skin over a cushion atop a throne decorated with a visvajra at the front and holds a long-life vase in his left hand.
Sculptures of Tibetan kings are so rare that even fairly recent ones have a place in this post. On both images he is seated on two square cushions covered with an antelope skin and wears a necklace with a very large amulet box.
16th century, Tibet, probably King Kunzang Nyida Drakpa, gilt copper alloy with silver inlaid eyes, private collection, photo by on Bonhams
According to an inscription on the base, this is probably a portrait of Kunzang Nyida Drakpa made during his life time. The king appears as a mahasiddha, seated on a tiger skin and adorned with the usual bone jewellery, cross-belt and spiral earrings, holding a vajra sceptre and a long-life vase.
An inscription on the base identifies this king, about whom very little is known.
King Songtsen Gampo is seated at royal ease, his right hand doing the fear-allaying gesture, the other resting over his knee. He wears a truncated conical hat topped with the head of Amitabha.
The thirty-third king of Tibet lived during the 7th century and introduced Buddhism to Tibet well before Padmasambhava was invited there by his grandson.
He came from the Yarlung dynasty, based in Central Tibet.
King Songtsen Gampo, Tibet, Yumbulagang, Yarlung Valley, photo by Erik Törner here .
In an effort to strengthen the bond between the various Tibetan people and unifying the small kingdoms of Tibet, he wished for a written version of the Tibetan language to be invented. Thus the Tibetan alphabet and grammar were born.
He had two wives, one from Nepal and another from China.
This character with a kingly appearance wears a three-leaf crown inlaid with stones, a fine outer robe with embroidered collar and cuffs, two chokers and small lotus earrings. His hands, in the meditation gesture, may have held an attribute. Experts don’t seem to agree as to whether this is an idealised portrait of an historical king, a mythical king or a deity, such as Amitayus, although the overcoat held in place with a belt suggests the former.
Trisong Detsen normally has both hands in the ‘turning the wheel of dharma’ gesture, or he holds a wheel of dharma with both hands.
The way this noble man holds his right hand, with the forefinger pressed against the thumb, is associated with king Songtsen Gampo, whose (broken) headdress would have been topped with an effigy of Amitabha. He is seated on an animal skin (antelope or deer) placed on two cushions covered with a cloth (typical of the 18th century).
This unidentified Tibetan king has a raining jewel in his right hand and another object in the left hand. There is a set of three flaming jewels (triratna) on top of his head.
A view of the back shows us that his hair is wrapped in cloth, and his robe decorated with an incised visvajra motif.
Songtsen Gampo is usually depicted seated with one leg unfolded, wearing a thick gown fastened with a belt, and thick felt boots. He often holds a long-life vase or a triple gem (as above and below) in one or both hands.
His legs may be locked in the vajra position.
He wears a tall turban wrapped around like a truncated cone and topped with the head of Amitabha. A long strand of braided hair falls on each shoulder. The above example has a moustache and goatee like Padmasambhava.
He often wears large earrings which can range from simple to very elaborate designs.
On this sculpture, the king sits on an elaborate throne decorated with two lions, two elephants, and a long-life vase at the front, a row of vajra sceptres on the lower part of the stepped plinth. The back panel features a garuda at the top and other mythical creatures on the sides. There is a bowl under his right hand.