Lama Tsongkapa (1357-1419) was the founder of the Gelugpa School of Tibetan Buddhism. In 1409 he established the Ganden Monastery in Lhasa which became the principal seat of the school. He is depicted here in his most recognized form wearing a yellow pandita hat and the orange patchwork robes of a fully ordained monk. His hands are held in front of his heart in the dharma teaching mudra, delicately holding the stems of two blue utpala flowers blossoming over his shoulders. The right blossom supports a wisdom sword and at the left a book. Floating on a cloud formation, he sits with his legs folded in vajra posture atop a moon disc and multi-colored lotus throne backed by a blue and orange spheres of light.
Compare with another painting of Tsongkhapa floating on a cloud formation in the Van der Wee collection of Himalayan paintings (15 March 2016, lot 102).