Quantcast
Videos ()
Ink Painting and the Rinpa Tradition

Close

Portrait of The Great Teacher Marpa

Date:
early 12th century
Culture:
Tibet
Medium:
Bronze inlaid with copper and silver; gold plugs
Dimensions:
H. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 1995
Accession Number:
1995.176
  • Description

    This compelling portrait is inscribed on the lower back with Marpa's name. Marpa (1012–1096) was one of the seminal figures in early Tibetan Buddhism. He traveled to India several times to study and eventually became the disciple of Naropa, one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas, or great teachers. Marpa had numerous followers and his teachings became the core of the Kagyu (orally transmitted) school.

    Several factors point to an early date for this sculpture: the portraitlike quality of the face, naturalism of the robes, and style of the garments. No early portrait of Marpa is known and later ones show him with long hair and a less individualized face, perhaps indicating that our sculpture records an actual likeness.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
37630

Close