Portrait of Two Lamas

Portrait of Two Lamas

c. 1300

Mineral pigments on cotton

Overall: 51.4 x 39.4 cm (20 1/4 x 15 1/2 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1987.146


High-level leaders of monastic institutions, called lamas in Tibetan, were the most common portrait subjects in Central Tibet from the 12th to 14th centuries. The monk on the left is Phakmo Drupa (1110-1170), founder of the Taklung monastery of the Kagyu order. He is shown in discourse with his successor Tashipel (1142-1210). Phakmo Drupa’s predecessor Gampopa is centered above them.

Their halos, lotus pedestal, and thrones with spitting elephant-trunked crocodiles and rearing griffins elevate them to the level of Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Despite their deification, they are still depicted with individualized facial features.

See also
Tibetan Art
Type of artwork: 

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