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Lot 24


Estimated Value:

12.000 € - 18.000 €


15.000 €


Central Tibet, 17th c.
68 x 47,5 cm (120 x 70 cm)
This beautiful thangka depicts the great historian, Taranatha (1575-1634), the foremost sage of the Jonang school of Tibetan Buddhism, one of the key Tibetan leaders of the turbulent 17th century, and pivotal to any discussion of Mongolian Buddhism. Gold is lavished upon the painted surface, heightening textiles, architecture, and the verdant paradise with blue craggy rocks that nod to the great tradition of landscape painting in China. The thangka's high quality resounds within its smallest details, such as the flawless draftsmanship of Taranatha's elegant hands, the idiosyncratic vigor of each mythical beast within his elaborate mandorla, and the effortless division of space through the employ of subtle brown and green washes within the landscape.
Rossi & Rossi Ltd., London - Private European collection, Himalayan Art Resources item no. 23550
Tarantha is one of the most frequently referenced Tibetan historians by modern writers on the history of Buddhism. He was a polymath who penned a vast bibliography, including numerous treatises on Buddhist philosophy, art, and, "the most important history of Indian Buddhism to be written in any language," as Martin sees it (Tibetan Histories. A Bibliography of Tibetan Language Historical Works, London, 1997). Taranatha was an avid patron of the arts and one of the principal agents behind the 'Pala Revival' style in Tibet, commissioning the restoration of Pala-style murals at his order's primary enclave, the Jonang Puntsog Ling.
Escaping increasing pressure from Gelug domination and its policies of 'unification' within the 17th century, Taranatha spent his last years missionizing dwindling Sakya monasteries in Mongolia. Subsequently, Mongolia's great spiritual leader, Zanabazar (1635-1723), was identified as Taranatha's reincarnation, upholding the latter's reputation as "a man of deep learning who made his field of enquiry as wide as humanly possible", according to Templeman ("Taranatha the Historian", in The Tibet Journal, vol.6, no.2, 1981, pp.41-6). All eight of his Mongolian incarnations held Taranatha's posthumous epithet, Jebtsundamba Khutukhtu ('Venerable and Saint Master Incarnate'), until 1924
Minor rest. and wear