VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Portrait of a Lama from Dolpo
91.47-1
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The painter has succeeded in arranging a multitude of little figures in a way that looks like rhythm caught in a picture. This feature, added to the softly glowing shades of red in front of a shining dark background, gives it an attractive, peculiar beauty.

History of the Object
This painting shows the portrait of a seated lama, with his spiritual masters and predecessors above and around him, while his pupils occupy the lower parts. This is a common way in Tibetan-Buddhist art to depict a lineage of masters and students of a given spiritual tradition. Yet, something is uncommon about this painting: While the central figure in all probability is a lama of the Ngorpa/Sakya tradition, the surrounding masters form a lineage of Kagyu-masters. This points to a peculiarity of Tibetan Buddhism in Dolpo, where there is a tradition of studying the teachings of more than one of the big orders. Regrettably, there are no inscriptions that give names to the figures in the painting, so the actual figures are still unidentified.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Mineral colours on textile tissue 
Measurements
H 65 cm, W 53 cm (painting only) 
Creator name
unknown 
Creator date
unknown 
Where it was made
Nepal; Dolpo 
Geography
Nepal 
Time period
AD 18th century ~ AD 18th century 
Creation date
17th Century 
Function
Painting for use in a Tibetan-Buddhist temple. 
Acquisition
The painting was bought from Tsering Tashi Thingo (Nari Tulku Rinpoche), a lama of Tibetan Buddhism and an expert on Tibetan art. He helps many museums and collectors in the German-speaking areas to identify and exhibit their collections. 
Copyright
Saal/Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg 
Museum
Museum of Ethnology, Hamburg 
Credit line
Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg, Inv.-Nr. 91.47:1 

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