Yogi Milarepa (c. 1032–c. 1135)

Accession Number

Yogi Milarepa (c. 1032–c. 1135)


Object Creation Date

Medium & Support

2 3/8 in. x 1 15/16 in. x 1 5/8 in. ( 6 cm x 5 cm x 4.1 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. Figiel

Subject matter
The beloved Tibetan yoga master Milarepa (a historical person, 1040–1123) is identified here by his characteristic gesture of cupping his right hand to his ear, "as though listening to the voice of inspiration." Famous for his antisocial and unorthodox behavior, Milarepa attained the ultimate Buddhist goal of a spiritual awakening in a single lifetime, without becoming a monk. He is the subject of untold numbers of paintings and sculptures, across many centuries, as he is revered by lay followers of Tibetan Buddhism.

Physical Description
A miniature sculpture of a the Tibetan yogin Milarepa as a rotund figure, seated in lalitasana (the posture of royal ease, with one knee drawn up and the other relaxed) on an antelope skin (the head of the antelope can be discerned just under the figure's left foot, as an incised design). The right hand is raised, cusping the right ear as though to better hear, while the left elbow rests on the left knee, and the right hand holds a nettle-shell bowl. Wrapped around his torso, from his right shoulder to his left knee, is a sash (sometimes referred to as a meditation belt), which allows him to keep his body upright during long hours of meditation. The base, cast in a single piece with the figure, is decorated with beading and a single band of lotus petals.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)
Ritual Object

Collection Area

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Tibetan (culture or style)
earrings (jewelry)
lotus (motif)
miniature (size attribute)

2 Related Resources

(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
C2 - Chanchani - yogic body (main set)
(Part of: Curriculum/Collection)

& Author Notes

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