A RARE PAINTING OF TARA FROM A PALPUNG TARA SET
A RARE PAINTING OF TARA FROM A PALPUNG TARA SET
A RARE PAINTING OF TARA FROM A PALPUNG TARA SET
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A RARE PAINTING OF TARA FROM A PALPUNG TARA SET
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THE JOHN C. AND SUSAN L. HUNTINGTON COLLECTION
A RARE PAINTING OF TARA FROM A PALPUNG TARA SET

EASTERN TIBET, KHAM PROVINCE, PALPUNG MONASTERY, 18TH CENTURY

细节
A RARE PAINTING OF TARA FROM A PALPUNG TARA SET
EASTERN TIBET, KHAM PROVINCE, PALPUNG MONASTERY, 18TH CENTURY
24 1/4 x 16 3/8 in. (61.6 x 41.6 cm.)
来源
Oscar Meyer, Los Angeles, 9 April 1968.
The John C. and Susan L. Huntington Collection, Columbus, Ohio.
出版
John C. Huntington, "The Technique of Tibetan Paintings," Studies in Conservation, Vol. 15, No. 2, May, 1970, fig. 10, p. 128.
Himalayan Art Resources, item no. 24791.

荣誉呈献

Tristan Bruck
Tristan Bruck Specialist, Head of Sale

拍品专文

The following two paintings of Tara Victorious Over the Three Worlds and Tara Accomplishing the Complete Perfection are among the finest works executed in the style of Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne (1700-1774) from Palpung Monastery in Eastern Tibet. These paintings follow the encampment style of New Khyenri that echoes the typical blue and green palette of Chinese landscapes. Perhaps the most innovative and creative style of the later schools, these paintings are relatively minimalist compared to the Central Tibetan New Menri tradition.
Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne was one of the most influential masters in Tibetan art history. He was a prolific painter, translator, founder of Palpung monastery, and the editor-in-chief of the Derge Kangyur. He developed a unique style of painting at Palpung monastery which derives from the Khyenri style of painting. Most of the Palpung paintings in the style of Situ Panchen employ a minimalist style. The unique characteristics of the style are the open background and sparse landscapes combined with bold and expressive figures as if floating in the composition. The deities primarily follow the Khyenri style which Situ Panchen in particular mentions in his biography as one that must be copied and emulated especially for deities. Situ Panchen explains in the colophon of his famed Avadana painting set that his style comes from the traditions of Chinese scholars, while the buildings, people, and clothing are depicted like those he saw in India.
Tara is one of the most popular deities in Tibetan Buddhism, and is considered to be the goddess of universal compassion who represents virtuous and enlightened activities of the Buddha. This painting likely belongs to a set of twenty-one Tara paintings from the lineage of Suryagupta. One of the eighty-four Mahasiddhas, Suryagupta was a lay practitioner from Kashmir who was miraculously cured of leprosy by a statue of the goddess Tara. Thereafter, Suryagupta composed an ode to the twenty-one Taras, as well as sadhanas and commentaries. He taught these to his student Chandragarbha, and over time this lineage was transmitted in an unbroken line of Buddhist masters.
This beautiful Tara of lot 422 is red in color signifying the enlightened activities of power, overcoming external forces that cannot be tamed through other means. She is often called upon to remove obstacles relating to sickness and untimely death. Seated on a red lotus and sun disk, she has one face and four arms. Her lower right hand holds a vajra and the upper a sword, the lower left with a threatening gesture and the upper holding a noose, which she uses to remove impediments to enlightenment. A relevant excerpt from Suryagupta’s Praise of Twenty-one Taras can be translated as: “Homage to you who are worshiped by Indra, Agni, Brahma, Vayu, and the other mighty gods; And before whom the host of evil spirits, zombies, smell eaters and givers of harm respectfully offer praise.” Directly above the Tara sits Nyima Ozer adorned with a luminous rainbow prabha around his body. He is the sixth in the set of Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava. Nyima Ozer is in the austere appearance of a mahasiddha; yellow in color with long black hair, partly tied in a topknot crowned with a gold half vajra. The right hand holds upright a khatvanga staff adorned with rings, skulls and streamers. The left hand is placed across the knee and with his index finger extended, issues forth rays of the sun removing the darkness of ignorance. He is adorned with a skull crown, bone earrings, necklace, and bracelets, and he wears an orange scarf, red meditation belt and a skirt made of tiger skin. He rests in a yogic posture on a deer skin and a mat of leaves. The backgrounds of both paintings depict scenes from the Golden Rosary of Tara by Taranatha. The inscription, in gold lettering over a red cartouche at the bottom of the painting of Tara Victorious Over the Three Worlds, is an excerpt from Taranatha’s book on the origin of the Tara tantra. The inscription from the painting of Tara Victorious Over the Three Worlds reads: “In the country of Gujiratha at a place called Bharukaccha, there once lived a merchant who was very rich. Having loaded many heavy bundles of merchandise on some one thousand camels and some five hundred bullocks, he set out for the country of Maru [an ancient name for Rajasthan]. But along the road he came to a solitary place in the wilderness where nearly one thousand bandits resided. Both sides of the road were covered with the flesh, blood, and bones of all the merchants who had come there previously and had been murdered. Hundreds of thousands of merchants had been impaled on stakes. These bandits were like rakshasas who eat human flesh. The merchant was very much afraid and since he was without any refuge or protector, he prayed loudly to Tara. At that instant, there miraculously appeared innumerable troops of soldiers in close ranks, who were in fact emanations of Tara. Even though they pursued the bandits over long distances, they were neither killing nor dying. All traces of these bandits disappeared from that region. The merchant went along his way happily, and afterwards he returned home safely to Barukaccha.”
The second painting lot 423 depicts Tara Accomplishing the Complete Perfection, the last Tara of the twenty-one Tara set in the Suryagupta tradition. She rides atop a bull white in color. Meditating upon her and reciting her mantra brings joy and bliss, causing the practitioner’s body, speech, and mind to blaze with power and splendor. She holds a trident in her right hand and a rosary in her left. Another relevant excerpt from the Praise of Twenty-one Taras goes: “Homage to you who have the perfect power of pacifying, through your blessings of the Three Thatnesses; subduer of the hosts of evil spirits, zombies and givers of harm, O Tu Re, most excellent and supreme!” The inscription from the bottom of the painting reads: “There was once a sadhaka who practiced the sadhana of Tara. He sat beside the roots of a bimba tree and repeated mantras. On one occasion, in the early morning, he saw a narrow lane in front of him which had not been there previously. He entered this and followed along the way. By nightfall, he found himself in the midst of a delightful forest and here he saw a golden house. When he entered it, he encountered the Yakshini Kali, who was the servant of the Yaksha Natakubera. She was adorned with every kind of ornament and her body was of an indefinite color. She addressed him, "O sadhaka, since you have come here, you must eat of the elixir," and she placed in his hands a vessel filled with nectar. He remained for one month, drinking the elixir, and thereafter his body became free of death and rebirth.”
Another painting from the same set, residing in the Solomon Family Collection, depicts Tara of the Auspicious Light (Mangalaloka Tara), and is illustrated by R. Linrothe in “‘Utterly False, Utterly Undeniable’ Visual Strategies in the Akanishtha Shrine Murals of Takden Phuntsokling Monastery,” in Archives of Asian Art 67, New York, October 2017, pp. 143-187, fig 47.

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