Tsongkhapa with Disciples
MediumPigments, gilding on sized cloth
DimensionsWork : 4 x 3 3/4 x 7/8 in. (10.16 x 9.53 x 2.22 cm)
Credit LineGift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton
Tsongkhapa Lopzang Dragpa (1357-1419) was a Tibetan monk and philosopher who founded the Gelug School. He is believed to have been an earthly manifestation of the bodhisattva Manjushri, and is greatly revered as a saint and teacher in both Tibet and Mongolia. Tsongkhapa is portrayed here sitting in a cross-legged meditation pose with his hands held in front of him making a teaching gesture. The two lotus blossoms that appear at his shoulders support a flaming sword and a wisdom sutra to signify his affiliation with Manjushri. He wears the saffron-colored robes of a monk, and his head is covered with a distinctive peaked hat that was once yellow but now looks gray because of an oxidized lead pigment in the paint. As is often the case, Tsongkhapa is shown here accompanied by his two chief disciples, Gyaltsab Je (1364-1432) on the left and Khedrup Je (1385-1438) on the right.