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Lot 23

Padmasambhava, "The Precious Guru" as universal helper from all hardships

Estimated Value:

1.500 € - 2.500 €

Hammer Price:

13.000 €


Tibet, 18th/ 19th c.
67,5 x 45 (99 x 65) cm
In the center of the painting, Padmasambhava appears in his most iconographically common mode of representation. In this thangka a multitude of individual scenes can be seen with several of his emanations, which he assumed for the benefit and blessing of the beings, and for their protection. In the upper left corner, the blue Tathagata Vajradhara appears in yab-yum, on a cloud. In the center is a temple with three worshiping figures paying homage to the white-colored Tathagata Vajrasattva appearing on the right. Below this temple, a rocky plateau rises up with three tall trees. Below is a bodhisattva (Padmapani) and three warriors in prayerful posture surrounded by a temple complex. Further to the right, a blue-colored deity appears in yab-yum with his hands resting in his lap. From Him emanate energy flows at the ends of which various dancing deities manifest on clouds. On a white very prominent cloud appears the wrathful emanation of Padmasambhava in the form of the red-colored Yidam Dorje Drolod, who holds with his right hand a golden phurba (?), and on the left a nine-headed scorpion. He is surrounded by an enormous fire aureole, symbol of his obstacle-transforming energy. In front of him stands a bubbling cauldron over a fire, surrounded by helpers of the judge of the dead, Yama. The boar-headed one stirs with a staff in the hot broth, to his right stands one with a bull's head, holding a sandalwood staff and a mirror, and the foremost assistant of Yama, with a gray monkey's head, holds the scales for weighing the karmic accumulations of good and bad deeds. From the steam rising from the cauldron, human beings rise, seeking shelter and salvation from Dorje Drolod. Here Padmasambhava appears as a helper to the dying in the bardo. Up in the corner appears a monk, possibly an emanation of the guru as Pemasambha. Before him huddle listeners following his teachings. Below the bardo scene stands in an upright posture, also as an emanation of Padmasambhava, the wrathful blue bodhisattva Vajrapani (Guru Senge Dadog?) with vajra in his right hand and the skull bowl in his left. He also appears as a protector to save people in distress, fleeing from a burning house. Also people who are exposed to storms, and are in distress at sea, ask for his salvation. And people who fear for their valuable goods call upon the Guru, in the energy of the God of Wealth, for help. In the lower left corner, the guru sits in a tent of intertwined vajras, on a golden double vajra (vishvavajra). Here the guru sits as the invincible protector in his vajra tent, ready and able to protect beings at all times. On the left edge in the center is the Tathgata Amitabha, accompanied by the two Bodhisattvas Padmapani (l) and Vajrapani (r). In this appearance of the Buddha of Light Glory, Padmasambhava, along with the bodhisattvas of compassion and power, helps reach the paradise of Shukhavati, the desired goal of every devout Buddhist. As a final scene, Padmasambhava is shown on a cloud, accompanied by his two disciples Mandarava (l) and Yeshe thsogyal (r), along with three sacrificial goddesses making sound offerings. Ascending to him are naked human beings, in energy circles of different colors, who need his help and hope to receive support from him. A horse-headed figure (allusion to Hayagriva?) rushes to help them. All these beings are wrapped in blazing energy fire. In this painting Padmasambhava appears as a universal helper for every emergency in which people call upon him and trust in his help. Tempera and gold on cotton fabric, original silk brocade mounting with protective cloth and rods.
Important German private collection, collected in the 1970s and 80s, mostly acquired at Schoettle Ostasiatica, Stuttgart
Literature: Gerd-Wolfgang Essen / Tsering Tashi Thingo; Padmasambhava - Life and Work of the Great Tantric Master in the Mirror of Tibetan Art; DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne, 1991
Minor wear, traces of age

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