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Between and Mortarboard


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Gelugpa Merit Field, centered on Tsongkhapa, with lineage teachers above and to the sides, and meditational deities (yidam) and protectors (dharmapala) below.

Accession Number
1962/2.1

Title
Gelugpa Merit Field, centered on Tsongkhapa, with lineage teachers above and to the sides, and meditational deities (yidam) and protectors (dharmapala) below.

Artist(s)

Object Creation Date
1800-1850

Medium & Support
gouache and gold on cotton

Dimensions
33 1/2 in. x 20 1/4 in. ( 85.09 cm x 51.44 cm )

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Subject matter
This painting is a diagrammatic representation of the transmission of teachings within the Gelugpa School of Tibetan Buddhism. Tsongkhapa (1357 - 1419), the founder of the school, wearing the Gelugpa yellow hat and flanked by two lotus blossoms, is seated at the heart of a vast array of figures. Below him, forming the mountain on which he sits, are row upon row of the meditational deities revered by the school, including Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and deified lamas (teachers), as well as the fierce ‘dharmapala’ deities (protectors of the faith). At the side, seated in large numbers on billowing clouds, are teachers in the Gelugpa lineage. The ascetic figures at the top center, above Tsongkhapa, represent famous Indian mahasiddas, yogis who have mastered tantric teachings.
There are many variants of such lineage diagrams among the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. They type is known by many names, including “Assembly Tree,” “Merit Field,” “Refuge Field,” or “Field of Accumulation”; in Tibetan, the generic term is “tsog shing.”

Physical Description
A portable painting, with gouache pigments on sized cotton, bordered by three strips of Chinese brocade. The painting is designed to be rolled up when not in use.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
thangka

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Buddhas (visual works)
Buddhism
Himalayan
Vajrayana
bodhisattva
monks
paradise (doctrinal concept)

& Author Notes

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