Portrait of Munchen Sangye Rinchen, the Eighth Abbot of Ngor Monastery
late 16th century
Distemper and gold on cloth
Image: 30 5/8 x 26 3/16 in. (77.8 x 66.5 cm)
Mount: 49 3/16 x 26 3/16 in. (124.9 x 66.5 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1971
Not on view
This tangka belongs to a set of portraits entitled the “Path with the Fruit Gurus and Ngor Abbots.” Munchen Sangye Rinchen, the abbot of Ngor monastery (1513–16), holds a book and sits on a lion throne under a lobed arch studded with lotus buds. Immediately above is the Buddha attaining enlightenment, accompanied by additional Buddhist deities and patriarchs of the Sakya monastic lineage. In the lower register are red and blue wrathful protective deities and the four lokapalas, or guardian kings, shown in yellow. During this abbot’s tenure, the monastery was at the zenith of its power, holding political control over the Ü and Tsang provinces of central and western Tibet.