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A PAINTING OF WALCHEN GEKHO
A PAINTING OF WALCHEN GEKHO

TIBET, 19TH CENTURY

Details
A PAINTING OF WALCHEN GEKHO
TIBET, 19TH CENTURY
The central figures striding in embrace on a lotus base over an animal throne, backed by the flames of pristine awareness, surrounded by multiple deities on their own lotus bases and with guardian kings in the foreground, the verso with handprints in red and a partial inscription
34 ¼ x 22 in. (87 x 56 cm.)
Provenance
The Van Der Wee Collection, Belgium, acquired by 1995
Literature
L. and P. Van der Wee, A Tale of Thangkas: Living with a Collection, 1995, pp.134-136, fig.64
P. Kvaerne, The Bon Religion of Tibet: The Iconography of a Living Tradition, 1996, pp.98-99, pl.30
Himalayan Art Resources (himalayanart.org), item no.100652
Exhibited
De Taal van de Thangka, Ethnographic Museum, Antwerp, 1995

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Lot Essay

Walchen Gekho, Sangwa is a principal meditational deity within the highest classes of Bon esoteric teachings. The fierce blue god is vibrantly depicted here with nine faces, eighteen hands and four legs. Each of his wrathful faces has three eyes and a gaping mouth with bared fangs. The faces extend upward in tiers, with three white faces on the right, three blue faces in the middle and three red faces on the left. The uppermost head is that of a Garuda. The pyramid of heads is surrounded by a mass of flaming hair. The eighteen hands hold weapons and various objects and are backed with Garuda's outstretched wings. He stands in powerful embrace with the red goodness Logbar Tsame engulfed by the flames of wisdom. Their elaborate throne which is supported by animals, is adorned with a lush multi-colored lotus blossom. Numerous Bon deities and human teachers are illustrated in the heavenly realm above, while various members of Walchen Gekho's wrathful retinue dance and stand guard throughout the sky and verdant landscape below. See the annotated diagram for identification of the figures.

The hand prints on the verso likely belong to a local Lama from the Amdo region of East Tibet where this painting would have originated. For a comparable example of Walchen Gekho see a painting in the Rubin Museum of Art (HAR 65649).

1. Welchen Gekho, The “Father”
2. Logbar Tsame , The “Mother”
3. The Five Great Garudas, each characterized by a different color
4. Ati Nuwer
5. Kuchi Mangke
6. Shenlha Wokar
7. Tonpa Shenrap

8-13 Welgi Trochen Drug (The Six Great Penatrating Fierce Gods):
8. East: Welmo Karser Bar
9. North: Welmo Ngojang Bar
10. West: Welmo Marnag Bar
11. South: Welmo Yuwo Bar
12. Above: Welmo Tingnag Bar
13. Below: Welmo Marmug Bar
Each goddess has three faces and six arms, and is clad in a tiger-skin loincloth

14. Ati Muwer
15. Kuchi Mangke

16-21 The Six Youths:
16. Truple Khye’uchung Shiwe Ku (The Magic Little Youth with the Body of Peacefulness)
17. Gyepe Ku (The Magic Little Youth with the Body of Expansion)
18. Wanggi Ku (The Magic Little Youth with the Body of Power)
19. Dragpo Ku (The Magic Little Youth with the Body of Ferocity)
20. Dortabchen (The Magic Little Youth with the ‘Method of Throwing out’ of the Lord of Death)
21. Namkhe Khye’uchung Zidangchen (The Little Youth of the Sky with the Radiance of zi)

22-24 Leki Trowo Zhi (The Four Fierce Gods of Action):
22. Luyi Chamching Chusin Dong (The Unique lu partner with the Face of a makara)
23. Tseyi Chamchig Lechema (The Unique Life-partner, Performer of Action)
24. Lusin Nagmo Lechema (The Black Female lu Demon, Performer of Action)

25-29 The Five Gekho:
25. Gekho Dzomen Tiki Dag
26. Gekho Ringnam Trulmo
27. Gekho Sisum Kundul
28. Gekho Sisum Kundul
29. Kulha Gekho Wopung

30-33 The Four Door-Keepers of the Four Directions:
30. East: driza, (tiger-face)
31. North: nojin, (dragon-face)
32. West: luwang, (wolf-face)
33. South: shinje, (bear-face)

34-37 The Four Kings of the Four Quarters

Protectors of the Doctrine:
38. Nyipangse
39. Draplamo

Lamas:
40. Tridem Chaggi Charuchen
41. Zhangzhung Takna Gyalpo

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