Tibetan Buddhism, imported in China by Mongol rulers in the thirteenth century, enjoyed further patronage from fifteenth-century emperors of the early Ming period. This work vividly demonstrates how hieratic Tibetan imagery was transformed under Chinese influence into a more naturalistic style, witnessed most strongly in the Sinicized treatment of landscapes. This painting, originally part of a set depicting the sixteen arhats (Buddhist saints), portrays Vajraputra, his hand raised in the teaching gesture (vitarkamudra), expounding dharma to a devotee. Tibetan inscriptions appear on the lower left margin and on the reverse.
Inscription: A brief inscription in Tibetan has been inscribed along the lower left margin of the tangka beyond the painted surface; the same inscription also appears twice on the back of the thanka near the top edge.
[ Navin Kumar , New York, until 1992; sold to MMA]
Lawrence. Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. "Latter Days of the Law: Images of Chinese Buddhism, 850–1850," August 28, 1994–October 9, 1994.
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. "Latter Days of the Law: Images of Chinese Buddhism, 850–1850," November 16, 1994–January 11, 1995.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Traditional Scholarly Values at the End of the Qing Dynasty: The Collection of Weng Tonghe (1830–1904)," June 30, 1998–January 3, 1999.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Defining Yongle, Imperial Art in Early Fifteenth-Century China," April 1, 2005–July 10, 2005.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Secular and Sacred: Scholars, Deities, and Immortals in Chinese Art," September 10, 2005–January 8, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art of the Himalayas," December 15, 2010–December 4, 2011.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Arts of Nepal and Tibet: Recent Gifts," January 16, 2016–January 15, 2017.