Roundel with Karma Lineage

Date: 16th century

Culture: Tibet

Medium: Ivory

Dimensions: H. 3 1/2 in. (8.7 cm); W. 2 7/8 in. (7.3 cm); D. 1/2 in. (1.3 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2003

Accession Number: 2003.495


The monks depicted here are dressed in the robes of the Karma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and the central figure likely represents Mikyo Dorje (1500–1599), the eighth head of that lineage. The other seven monks represent earlier incarnations of him, including Marpa (1012–1098) and Milarepa (1040–1123). Vajradhara presides above, and Mahakala, the order’s great protector, stands below.