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Portrait of the Great Thangpa

Asian Art

MEDIUM Opaque watercolor and gold on cotton
  • Place Made: Tibet
  • DATES last quarter of 13th century
    DIMENSIONS 20 3/8 x 15 in. (51.8 x 38.1 cm)  (show scale)
    INSCRIPTIONS "The ascetic practice of patience is hold patience.It is the excellent way to get beyond suffering, this is the word of the Buddha. For an ordained monk to do harm or to hurt others is not the virtuous practice." ( The following is tentative): " The city of gandharvas, the wheel of existence, or karmic imprints, know them as the great pureland of Sukhavati. Unborn and unagitated from the beginning of no beginning may the ' Auspicious blessings' of taglung Thangpa come! I will what they command, the venerable, incomparable father and his sons, who are no separate from me. May they be capable of purifying the illusions of my mind, and of leading all beings (on the path to liberation). May all be auspicious!"
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1991.86
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Asian Art Council
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Portrait of the Great Thangpa, last quarter of 13th century. Opaque watercolor and gold on cotton, 20 3/8 x 15 in. (51.8 x 38.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Asian Art Council, 1991.86
    IMAGE overall, 1991.86_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Portrait of the founder of the Taglung Monastery, seated at center inyogasana with red and saffron robes highlighted with gold, surrounded by 24 divinities and lamas. Tibetan script, contained within form of a stupa. The inscription names the teachers of taglungpa lineage, tranlated into Sanskrit but transcribed in Tibetan. ( For list names, see tnraslation by Heather Stoddard, attched to NOA).The lama represented is Thangpa Chenpo, or the " Great Thangpa" (1142-1210), founder of the monastery of taglung in 1180, and founder of the Taglung branch of the Karma Magyu school. These teachers of strict aceticism were widely respected, and the taglung monastery becamse one of the largest monasteries in Central Tibet, although later in its history, the monastery lost favor, leaving relatively few historical documents. The figures appearing around the central figure are mapped out on the reverse. The meditation scenes at the foot of the throne are not identified. One shows the lama seated in meidtation in a temple retreat with a blue tiled roof with another meditating figure to his right and with two attending monks. The other scene shows him in a white tent. To the left are three holden stupas, and to the rear are trees, perhaps representing the forests around the monastery. These scenes appear to represent important moments in the ascetics life, perhaps realting to the founding of Taglung. Lamas in yellow and orange hats sit on either side of the central figure's knees. They may represent Thangpa Chempo himself (orange hat) and another lama of the Karma Kagyu school (yellow hat). These same figures appear on two other Taglungpa thangkas which show similar scenes at the foot of the throne. The surrounding deities and teachers are associated with the karma kagyu school. Condition: Arrived unmounted. Intact. No apparent flaking. 1 1/4 void at upper right border. Tanka has been examined by Robert Bruce Gardner, Chief Conservator of the Courtauld Institute, who recommended not cleaning the surface since it was in such fine condition.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Good (75%)
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