The four teachers seated on lion thrones, with pillars issuing from kalasha vases and entwined with flowers and foliage , gem-embellished golden arches above, each master wearing patchwork monks habits over sleeveless monastic jackets, one with a yellow cap, all with hands in dharmachakra mudra and holding the stems of lotus flowers, the thrones set against deep blue space with roundels depicting lamas in debate, auspicious emblems, blue Hevajra and Shakyamuni Buddha, with numerous inscriptions overall.
Martin Brauen (ed.), L’Art Tibetain, Bern, 1969, no, 71, pl. A.
Hugo E. Kreijger, Tibetan Painting, The Jucker Collection, Boston, 2001, p. 80, no. 25.
The painting is distinguished by its remarkable palette of deep azurite blue contrasting vividly with the bright reds, greens and gold of the throne and monks garments, the stunning effect giving dimension to the settings and drawing focus to the portraits. Other paintings from the same series are now in public and private collections, including one in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; see Pal, 1983, p. 150-1, no. P15, and another formerly in the Alice and Nasli Heeramaneck Collection; see Pal, 1969, pp. 133-4, no. 8. Although without parallel amongst Tibetan paintings of this period, this important series continues in the tradition of Sakya paintings in the Nepalese manner, following such works as the set of three fourteenth or fifteenth century Buddhas in the Jucker Collection, lots 60-2 above. The style would evolve into the sixteenth or seventeenth century Sakya painting mode as in a renowned set of Ngor lineage portraits currently dated to circa 1610; see Pal, 2004, p. 262, no. 174, and Rhie and Thurman, 1999, pp. 288-9, no. 86.
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