• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1974

    Indian & Southeast Asian Art

    21 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 661

    An Rare Thangka of the Fifth Karmapa, Deshin Shegpa, meeting Emperor Yongle

    TIBETO-CHINESE, 15TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    An Rare Thangka of the Fifth Karmapa, Deshin Shegpa, meeting Emperor Yongle
    Tibeto-Chinese, 15th century
    The Karmapa seated on a low throne before a table of offerings, dispensing wisdom to the Emperor standing at lower right on a throne with a red and gold mandorla, the Karmapa's hand- and footprints in the corners, all set against a verdant landscape
    Opaque pigments and gold on silk
    36½ x 17½ in. (92.7 x 44.4 cm.)


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    The Fifth Karmapa Deshin Shegpa (1384-1415) met with the Yongle Emperor in 1407; compare with another example depicting the Emperor seated at right, in D. Jackson, A History of Tibetan Painting, 1996, fig. 87, p. 175.
    The painting is finely executed and displays some unusual elements, such as the treatment of the landscape. It is noteworthy that the Karmapa is depicted in much larger scale than the Emperor. The composition is related to a set of Karma Kagyu lineage paintings designed by Situ Panchen.