Site logo
A9. Tsong Khapa, 13.9 cms, gilt copper alloy, Tibet 16th century.

Tsong Khapa [1357-1419] was born in Amdo in Eastern Tibet. He was brought up as a monk and moved to Lhasa when he was sixteen years old. He was a brilliant scholar and went on to found the Gelukpa or Yellow hat school of Tibetan Buddhism. This became the dominant sect in Tibet and the Dalai Lamas are the heads of this school.

In this sculpture Tsong Khapa is depicted seated cross legged on a double lotus throne with his hands in the teaching position [dharmachakra mudra]. He wears monastic robes and lotuses flower at his right and left shoulders supporting a sword and a book respectively. These attributes indicate that he is considered to be a reincarnation of the bodhisattva of wisdom, Manjusri. The sculpture retains its original seal.

An ungilt but stylistically very similar sculpture of Tsong Khapa is illustrated in Portraits of the Masters: Bronze Sculptures of the Tibetan Buddhist Lineages, edited by Donald Dinwiddie, Serindia Publications, Chicago, No 85, Page 311.

Provenance: Sotheby’s, London 11th June 1985, lot 207
Darkroom theme
by ThemeFlood