Arts d'Asie

Arts d'Asie

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 191. A thangka depicting Marpa, Tibet, 17th century | 十七世紀 藏傳馬爾巴唐卡 設色布本.

A thangka depicting Marpa, Tibet, 17th century | 十七世紀 藏傳馬爾巴唐卡 設色布本

Auction Closed

June 14, 03:20 PM GMT


15,000 - 25,000 EUR

Lot Details


A thangka depicting Marpa

Tibet, 17th century

distemper on cloth

81 x 61.5 cm, 31⅞ by 24¼ in.


Tangka représentant Marpa, détrempe sur toile, Tibet, XVIIe siècle


十七世紀 藏傳馬爾巴唐卡 設色布本

Collection of J. Steward. 


J. Steward收藏

The long-haired mystic wears sumptuous silks and a meditation strap over the right shoulder. He is depicted with both hands reaching forward towards earth, seated on a lion throne with an elaborate aureole topped with a kirtimukha, surrounded by hierarchs and adepts, with Padmasambhava at the apex. An altar table is set with ritual implements before the master, with an abundance of jewels and offerings below. There are no inscriptions on this rare and finely painted thangka to confirm the identity of the central enthroned figure, but it probably portrays Marpa (1012-1096) with both hands in his customary earth-touching mudra, sometimes described as the mind-refreshing gesture (Tib. sems nyid ngal gso), see G. W. Essen and T. T. Thingko in Marylin M. Rhie and Robert A. F. Thurman, Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet, Thames and Hudson, 1996, p. 441. Milarepa (1040-1123), one of Marpa’s principal disciples, is seated to the master’s left. Although Marpa was not associated with a religious order, he was a revered Buddhist master who taught from his marital home. He was a man of means, a landowner, hence, perhaps, his depiction in this thangka as a long-haired mystic, yet dressed in fine silks rather than an austere monk’s habit or mahasiddha attire. Marpa travelled to India on a number of occasions and became an acknowledged translator of Indian religious texts. Marpa is considered by Tibetan Buddhists of all orders as an important figure in the early transmission of the faith from India. His disciples founded the Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism. The painting is finely drawn with exquisite attention to detail and animated expression, reminiscent of Choying Gyatso’s innovative mid seventeenth century New Menri style, see David Jackson, A History of Tibetan Painting: The Great Tibetan Painters and Their Traditions, Wien, 1996, pp. 219-46.