Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama)

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 307)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma
Size 82.55x59.69cm (32.50x23.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1996.19.11
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Interpretation / Description

Pema Chogyal, Rigdzin (English: Knowledge Holder, Lotus King of the Dharma): Nyingma Terton (Treasure Revealer) of the 17-18th Century.

Pema Chogyal, with moustache and goatee, gazes with the countenance of Padmasambhava. With the right hand held up in the mudra of Dharma explication the left holds a folio text in the lap respectfully held with blue cloth. Well attired in variously coloured robes he wears the white lower garment of a mantradharin (Tibetan: ngagpa. English: mantra holder) with a kila adorned with a red ribbon tucked in the purple sash worn as a belt. On the head is the lotus crown topped with a half-vajra and single feather. Above an ornate throne and backrest elaborate in design and colour he sits before a table of ritual objects and precious substances such as the three pink myrobalan fruit atop a white bowl on a raised pedestal.

At the top left is buddha Amitabha, red, with one face and the two hands placed in the mudra of meditation. In the center is the bodhisattva Sadaksari Avalokiteshvara, white, with one face and four hands. At the right is Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava with one face and two hands holding a vajra in the right and a skullcup in the left. Richly attired he wears fine robes and a lotus hat. At the lower left is Yeshe Tsogyal, the principal consort of Padmasambhava. She holds the right hand up in the gesture of explication and in the left a skullcup filled with jewels. At the right is Gyalwa Chogyang, among the foremost of the 25 students of Padmasambhava, performing the mudras of blessing and protection from fear. Wearing the robes of a monk he also displays the head of horse atop his own indicating perfection in the meditation practice of Hayagriva Heruka.

At the middle left is Drime Shing Kyong of Kathog Monastery, a terton of Earth and Mind Treasures, contemporary of Pema Chogyal and an emanation of Gyalwa Chogyang. In the right hand he holds a treasure casket and with the left performs the mudra of generosity. As a layman, richly attired in colourful robes, he wears some of his long hair in a tuft on the crown of the head and some falling loose behind. At the right is Wangchen Tamdrin performing the mudra of blessing with the right hand and holding a treasure casket in the lap with the left. He appears in the typical dress of a Nyingma terton.

At the right of the throne is Lhachen Mandarava, Indian consort of Padmasambhava, offering a mandala plate. At the left side of the throne is Kandro Yeshe Tsogyal, Tibetan consort of Padmasambhava, offering up precious jewels. Both are youthful and wear variously coloured garments and ornaments. At the bottom center is the corpulent wealth deity yellow Jambhala with one face and two hands holding a bijapuraka fruit in the right and a mongoose in the left. The right foot rests on a conch shell atop a golden vase alongside a bowl of wishing jewels and precious gems. At the left is the special protector of the Longchen Nying Tig Terma Teachings, Ekajati, red in colour, with one face, one eye, one tooth, one braid of hair, two hands the right holding an impaled corpse and the left a heart held up to the mouth. Wearing billowing white clouds as an upper garment and a tiger skin skirt below, she is adorned with all the wrathful vestments and stands with only one leg completely surrounded by the orange flames of pristine awareness. At the right is the worldly avowed protector, Tsi'u Marpo, guardian of Samye Chokor Ling monastery. Red in colour with one face and two hands he holds a lance and banner upraised in the right and a heart and lasso in the left. Clad in the garb of a Tibetan warrior with helmet and protective armour, he rides atop a red horse and drags a corpse with the lasso. The names of the figures are written alongside each in fine gold lettering.

Jeff Watt 1-99


The nyingma master Rigdzin Pema Tsogyal (?) surrounded by deities, lamas, and protectors of the Nyingma lineage.

II. Surrounding figures: 2) Amitabha (snang ba mtha' yas) 3) Avalokiteshvara (spyan ras gzigs) 4) Padmakara, the Lotus Born (padma 'byung gnas) 5) Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal (mkha' 'gro ye shes mtsho rgyal), Queen of Tibet and Guru Padmasambhava's chief disciple and consort. 6) Gyalwa Ch?yang (rgyal ba mchog dbyangs), one of Guru Padmasambhava's nine main disciples, also counted as one of the 25 chief disciples (rje 'bangs nyer lnga). Having received the empowerment (dbang) from Padmasambhava at Samye Chimphu, he attained the supreme accomplishment (siddhi) by meditating on Hayagriva. As a miraculous sign of accomplishment, a horse head (similar to that on Hayagriva's head) would appear on his head and neigh. 7) Drimey Shinkyong (dri med zhing skyong), an important teacher of Kathok monastery in Eastern Tibet. 8) Wangchen Tamdrin (dbang chen rta mgrin) *?? does not seems to fit as the name of a lama? 9) Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal (mkha' 'gro ye shes mtsho rgyal), Queen of Tibet and Padmasambhava's chief disciple and consort. 10) Lady Mandarava (lha gcam man dha ra ba), princess of Zahor (the present Mandi in northern India), and Padmasambhava's chief Indian consort, with whom he attained the siddhi of eternal life at Maratika Cave. 11) Ekajati, Mamo Ngakyi Sungma (ma mo sngags kyi bsrung ma) one of the main protectors of the Nyingma tradition (rnying ma), especially of the Dzogchen teachings (rdzogs pa chen po). 12) The yellow Jambhala ('dzam gser), god of wealth. 13) Shemar (gshed dmar), a protector of the Nyingma tradition. A lama possibly of the Shechen Lineage.

M. Ricard 1/98

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: "Homage to the Awareness Holder Padma Chogyal, protector of beings in this age of residues"

Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: (corrected): snyigs dus 'gro ba'i mgon po rig 'dzin padma chos rgyal la na mo.

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Tradition: Nyingma Teachers (Paintings)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery VII
Painting Style: Men-ri (New)
Tradition: Nyingma Tradition Main Page
Painting Style: Examples
Subject: Vulture Feather Adorned Hats