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Pictorial Biography of Tsongkhapa
One from a series of biographical paintings

Artist/maker unknown, Tibetan

Made in Tibet, Asia

c. 19th century

Colors on cloth; cloth mounting

Image: 26 x 17 1/2 inches (66 x 44.5 cm) Mount: 46 x 26 1/2 inches (116.8 x 67.3 cm) Framed: 54 1/4 × 35 3/4 × 3 1/4 inches (137.8 × 90.8 × 8.3 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Natacha Rambova, 1960

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This painting is an illustrated sacred biography of the central figure, Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), who founded the Gelug (Yellow Hat) order of Tibetan Buddhism. Numerous monastic rituals are depicted-reading books, pouring libations, envisioning deities, and offering triangular ritual cakes called torma. Gift-giving rituals are also shown. For example, the scene in the lower right is labeled, "Episode 115: A reception given when Dolungpa requested Buddhist texts to be brought to Nal-lo Monastery." In the lower left, wealthy traders offer white katak scarves, bolts of multicolored silks, and heaps of jewels to the enthroned Dharmaraja, a religious king.