A THANGKA DEPICTING AMITABHA IN SUKHAVATI
TIBET, 18TH/19TH CENTURY
37 ⅜ by 29 ½ in. (95 by 75 cm)
the pureland of Sukhavati with Amitabha seated at the center on a peacock throne, an assembly of monks and deities to the sides, a lotus pond and an Amitayus temple complex below, an elaborate canopy protecting the Buddha, and auspicious emblems raining from blue sky above
Himalayan Art Resources item no. 18369.
Collection of Richard and Magdalena Ernst
Sotheby's, New York, March 22, 2018, lot 972 (The Richard & Magdalena Ernst Collection of Himalayan Art)
The thangka belongs to a group of paintings associated with Trehor Namkha Gyan, known as Lankajie, a renowned artist working in Kham in the eighteenth century, see Jeff Watt, Himalayan Art Resources, Kandze Valley Painting Style and Trehor Namka Gyan. Based on oral histories Namkha Gyan worked for Gelug establishments in the Kangdze region, as well as the Ngorpa Sakya monastery of nearby Dongtog. He was thought to have been commissioned by the third Panchen lama Palden Yeshe (1738-1780), and a number of his works are now in the imperial collection in Beijing as gifts to the Qianlong emperor (r. 1735-1796).
Compare a later nineteenth century Amitabha in Sukhavati in the Rubin Museum of Art, see Marylin M. Rhie and Robert A. F. Thurman, Worlds of Transformation: Tibetan Art of Wisdom and Compassion, New York, 1999 p. 428, cat. no 169. Also compare this to a painting of the same style depicting Kalachakra, see The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Tangka-Buddhist Painting of Tibet, no. 59, Beijing, 2008, cat. no. 36.