Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Buddha Shakyamuni as "Lord of the Munis"

mid-17th century
Western Tibet (Guge)
Distemper on cloth
Image: 31 1/4 x 26 3/4 in. (79.4 x 67.9 cm) Framed: 41 x 33 in. (104.1 x 83.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Zimmerman Family Collection, 2008
Accession Number:
Not on view
Buddha Shakyamuni holds a begging bowl and gestures to the earth to witness his awakening. His golden complexion evokes his transcendent nature, and the patchwork robe indicates his non-attachment. He meditates upon a radiating lotus and is attended by the adoring figures of the bodhisattvas Maitreya (holding a flask) and Manjushri (a sword). Shakyamuni’s status as a cosmic Buddha is indicated by the rows of Buddhas that occupy the upper registers and the sixteen arhats that surround the lotus throne. In the lowest register are three seated monks flanked by the four guardian kings (lokapala). At lower left sits the officiating lama, likely the patron of this painting named in the inscription as Lobzang Dondrup. Stylistically, this western Tibetan work may be associated with Tsaparang, Tholing, and Tabo monasteries.
Inscription: Inscribed in Tibetan: “Ordered to be made by the lama . . . Lbzang Dondrup”
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art of the Himalayas," December 15, 2010–December 4, 2011.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Tibetan and Nepalese Art: Recent Acquisitions," September 17, 2013–February 2, 2014.

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