The golden tsertang thanka depicting a Sakya master seated on a rug spread over a lotus flower on a jewelled Chinese style lion throne, the elegant yoke back with floral panels inset between uprights and crossbars, the lama wearing a voluminous floral patterned cloak over monastic garb and the red cap of the Sakya hierarchs, his right hand in vitarka mudra, the gesture of argumentation, and a text in his left hand resting in his lap, an altar table with offerings before, Jambhala and his consort Vasudhara below in a lotus flower landscape with lamas surrounding the throne and Vajradhara above, the thanka with a red floral painted border.
Hugo E. Kreijger, Tibetan Painting, The Jucker Collection, Boston, 2001, p. 78, no. 24
This elegant tsertang, golden field, thanka was clearly an important commission, the large canvas having been prepared entirely with burnished gold. Simple black line delineates the subjects, foliage and throne, with colour reserved for the facial features, the striking red hat of the principal figure, the floral textile pattern of the robes and the jewels on the throne. If there was a common practise for this class of commission then few such lavish early gold thankas have survived. Of those that have survived the majority are of Sakya origin; compare a sixteenth century Kapaladhara Hevajra formerly in the Wesley and Carolyn Halpert Collection, where Sakya lamas preside over one of the most important deities of the Order’s pantheon; see Weldon and Casey, 2003, pl. 8. Compare also the skilful drawing of lamas and foliage on another large early Sakya thanka in the Metropolitan Museum of Art; see Kossak, 1998, p. 64, Fig, 14. Further reference to the Sakya style and period of the Jucker painting is seen in the red floral border; compare very similar borders painted on a sixteenth century Sakya thanka of Kurukulla in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; see Pal, 1975, p. 83, no. 48. The Sakyas historical associations with China, particularly the Yuan court, would account for the eastern style of the master’s throne; compare the seats of Sakya lineage holders depicted in fifteenth century temple sculpture at Gyantse; see von Schroeder, 2001, pp. 874-81, nos. 201A-204F.
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