Gum tempera and ink on sized cotton
Image: 78.2 x 62.9 cm (30 13/16 x 24 3/4 in.); Overall: 100 x 66.7 cm (39 3/8 x 26 1/4 in.)
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 2000.68
The red Buddha of the West, Amitabha, seated in meditation on his throne, is flanked by bodhisattvas. Above are two rows of monks who transmit his teachings, and along the bottom is a row of six adepts, skilled practitioners of magic and the recitation of mantras to reach enlightenment quickly. In front of his throne are the three flaming jewels of Buddhism: the Buddha, his teaching (dharma), and the spiritual community (sangha). Its unfinished state reveals the fluid and accomplished ink drawing delineating all the forms.
This painting is one of the earliest surviving thangkas—devotional Buddhist paintings on cloth. It is from the region ruled by the Guge kings of western Tibet from the 900s to 1600s, now partially within the national borders of India.
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