Khedrubje, the First Panchen Lama
The deity having a vision of, and making and offering to, his teaher Tsongkhapa
Thangka (Hanging Painting)
Artist/maker unknown, Sino-Tibetan
With its blue-green landscape, craggy rocks, sinuous clouds, flowering tree, and peonies (used to represent high rank), this painting is very Chinese in feeling. Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), founder of the Gelug order of Tibetan Buddhism, rides an elephant in a cloud at the upper left. Below him sits Khedrupje (1385–1438), one of his most devoted students, who became the first Panchen Lama. Khedrupje invokes his teacher by offering symbols of the universe: a temple perched atop the cosmic mountain. The fierce deities Yamantaka and Mahakala (at upper right and lower left) symbolize the ritual teachings passed from teacher to student. This is also reflected in the inscription: “Tsongkhapa, revered king of religion, taught Khedrupje both Yamantaka and Mahakala rituals.”
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