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Lamal Patronl Artist:

The Great Situ Panchen

Notes appear at the end of the article

LAMA, PATRON, ARTIST: The Great Situ Panchen breaks new ground by presenting as its main subject the work and legacy of a known pre-20th century Tibetan artist: the great scholar-painter Situ Panchen (1700-1774) (1). Exhibitions on Tibetan art are usually organised around religious themes and seldom focus on style and individual artists. Thus, Lama, Patron, Artist serves as an important counterpoint in the field of Tibetan art historical investi gations. As Situ Panchen's artistic career is well docu mented, we have rich insight into an artist and patron's intentions, through his own words, as well as those of his contemporaries. This insider's view of an artistic tradition is a totally new approach for an exhibition on Tibetan art, encouraging us to explore the art on the terms furnished by its master. Lama, Patron, Artist will travel to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (March 13th, 2010-July 18th, 2010) where key works from the Freer collection will be incorporated, allowing for even further exploration of Tibetan-Chinese cross cultural artistic dialogue than was possible at the Rubin Museum of Art (RMA). This introduction will explore one aspect of the exhibition in particular: paintings m scribed with attributions to Situ's own hand.

Situ Panchen as the Great Transmitter of His Lineage Kham province, eastern Tibet, late 18th century (circa 1760) Pigments on cloth, 38 V2 x 23 Y2 in (97.8 x 59.7 em) Rubin Museum of Art Purchased from the collection of Navin Kumar, New York C2003.29.2 (HAR 65279)

Beginning in the 14th century, the Karmapas, heads of the Karma Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism, travelled in large mona tic tent encampments, consisting of porta ble temples, a community of monks, and skilled artists and artisans. This mobile court, known as the "Great En campment", produced its own distinctive painting style, known as the Karma Gardri or "the style of the Karmapa Encampment". Founded in the late 16th century in cen tral Tibet, the Encampment style is characterised by its open, airy landscapes inspired in part by Chinese court painting. However, due to the upheaval of civil war, most of what survives of this painting tradition stems from its 18th century revival fostered by Situ Panchen in eastern Tibet. Even more important to the history of Tibetan art than Situ Panchen's role as a painter is his role as a patron and designer of paintings, many of which continue to be copied to this day.
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Two of the main religious masters of the Karma Ka gyu, the Fifth Shamar (1526-1583) and the Fourth Gyalt shab (1550-1617), played a significant artistic role, offer ing guidance for the creation of a new visual idiom for the Karmapa's court. They instructed Namkha Tashi to take as models certain famous early Chinese paintings in Tibet, primarily the products of the late Yuan (1271-1368) and early Ming (1368-1644) courts. They urged him to follow Indian Buddhist art for the shape of the sacred figures and Chinese art for the colouring and shading. The kind of Chinese court painting sent by the early Ming emper ors to Tibetan patriarchs is represented in the Sackler venue by a painting of the Arhat Ajita (2). One can see these same visual conventions for depicting lineage figures that were transmitted through such early Ming court painting followed in a portrait of the Ninth Karmapa, Wangchug Dorje (1555-1603) (3). The compo sition of this figure, framed in a decorative blue-green landscape, is clearly inspired by the same Chinese arhat genre imported from the Ming court of the 15th century. An inscription in gold paint along the front table edge

Arhat Ajita China, 15th century Mineral pigments and gold on silk, 303,4 x 193,4 in (78 x 50 cm) Collection of Robert Rosenkranz and Alexandra Munroe

Founding of the EncaDlpDlent Style

According to Tibetan tradition, the Encampment style was established-or more likely codified-in central Ti bet by the painter Namkha Tashi in the court of the Ninth Karmapa (1555-1603). Namkha Tashi and his successors placed figures based on Indian models within Chinese inspired landscapes, extending the Chinese-inspired aes thetic revolution begun by Tibetan painters in the mid15th century. Namkha Tashi appears several times in the Ninth Kar mapa's biography as an important artist in the last two decades of the 16th century (1582-1599). A short biogra phy of the painter reads: Regarding the extraordinary artist Namkha Tashi, he was born in Yartod. From the time he was a little child he admitted that he was an emanation of the [Eighth] Lord [Karmapa]. He was prophesied as the doer of [the Karmapa's] religious activities in the sphere of religious images and, instructed by the Fifth Shamar, he established the [painting] tradition of the Encampment style (Gardri).!
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Ninth Karmapa, Wangchug Dorje (1555-1603) Tibet 16th -17th century Ground mineral pigment 49 x 32 Y2 in (124.5 x 82.6 cm) Shelley and Donald Rubin Collection (HAR 163)

effaced inscription indicates that this painting was exe cuted during the Karmapa's lifetime. It reads: This painting of [Wangchug?] Dorje, which was achieved following directions from the Karmapa himself, was energetically achieved by the nephew, the monk of Kongpo in the east. By this merit may all living beings be established in the level of Bud dhahood. 2 Unfortunately the first syllables of his name are illegi ble, making this identification tentative. This inscription mentions the patron of this work as the Karmapa's or dained disciple from Kongpo in the east who calls himself "nephew". The Ninth Karmapa had two important disci ple-patrons with this title, the dates of whom place the painting of this work to the 15905. Especially suggestive is the fact that one of these "nephews", On Gushri Karma Chogyal (died 1602), is recorded to have been a sponsor of works by the painter Namkha Tashi, founder of the En campment style. Another internal clue to the dating of this painting can be found in the background landscape, where a monu mental thangka is unfurled on a mountainside adjacent to the Karmapa's seat, Tsurphu Monastery. This is a famous applique of Buddha Shakyamuni, which was made at Tsurphu for the Ninth Karmapa in 1585, and its inclusion provides an earliest possible date for this painting. Stylisti cally this painting marks a distinct departure from earlier Karma Kagyu lineage depictions with the more open composition that characterises later Encampment paint ings. If the damaged inscription indeed reads Wangchug Dorje, then this important painting would represent the transitional period in the court of the Ninth Karmapa at the birth of the Encampment style.
The Revival: Situ Panchen

Ninth Karmapa, Wangchug Dorje (1555-1603) Central Tibet, 16th century (circa 1590) P igmen ts on cloth, 591,4 x 421,4 in (150.5 x 107.3 cm) Rubin Museum of Art Purchased from the collection of Navin Kumar, New York C2005.20.2 (HAR 90005)

identifies the main figure of this work as "lord Wangchug Dorje", the Ninth Karmapa. The monumental size of this painting hints at its likely dating between the 1590s and 1630s, the last half century of lavish official patronage of the Karma Kagyu order by the kings of Tsang and other powerful lords, before both the patrons' and court's destruction in 1642 and 1645. Thus this painting is a likely measure of the kind of painting produced in the Karmapa's court at its height, around the time of the founding of the Encampment style. While this painting has been tentatively identified as early Gardri because of its blue-green landscape, it does not yet display the open compositions for which the Encampment style would be come famous. To my knowledge no extant painting by the hand of Namkha Tashi has yet been identified; the closest we can come at this time is another painting of the Ninth Kar mapa found in the Rubin Museum collection (4). A partly

However, only forty years later bitter sectarian warfare came to a head in central Tibet, and in 1645 the Karmapa Encampment was obliterated by Mongol troops, whose support for the Dalai Lama's rise to power placed the Karmapa's religious and artistic traditions in danger of extinction. Thus, although the Encampment style was founded in the late 16th century, most of what we know about it is from its 18th century revival. This revival was engineered by Situ Panchen (1) far off in eastern Tibet. Situ Panchen was born in 1700 in Derge, a small but cul turally significant kingdom at the heart of the province of Kham. This was a particularly volatile period in Tibet's history. Several generations of civil warfare had left Situ's Karma Kagyu order in shambles, and in central Tibet the Karma Kagyu monasteries were being sup pressed and harassed by the local rulers. Fortunately, as Derge was less embedded in the strife, a comparatively peaceful upbringing allowed Situ Panchen to flourish. As a young boy he was recognised as the eighth emanation (trulku) of the Situ incarnation lineage, one of the highest ranking lamas/hierarchs of the Karma Kagyu order. Situ Panchen proved a brilliant polymath and charismatic leader, influential in many areas of cultural and institu tional life in 18th century Tibet. Not only did he make great strides in reviving his own religious order, but also
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Mahasiddha Ghantapa
From Situ's set of the Eight Great Tantric Adepts

Situ Panchen as Patron of the Avadana Set

From Situ's set of the Wish-Granting Vine series of One Hundred and Eight Morality Tales

Kham province, eastern Tibet, 18th century Ground mineral pigment on cotton, 19 x 13 in (48.3 x 33 cm) Collection of John and Berthe Ford (HAR 73821)

Kham province, eastern Tibet, 19th century Pigments on cloth, 31 x 22% in (78.7 x 57.8 cm) Rubin Museum of Art Purchased from the collection of Navin Kumar, New York C2002.27.5 (HAR 65136)

made major contributions to the fields of painting, the lit erary arts, and medicine. We know a great deal about Situ's involvement in the arts as Situ's artistic activities are well documented in his own autobiography and diary. Situ Panchen took an in terest in art from an early age, and began to paint even before receiving formal training. At the age of fifteen, Situ first learned iconometric proportions in a formal way from a professiollal artist from Kongpo during his first vis it to central Tibet in 1714. Soon thereafter at the Sha mar's monastic seat of Yangpajen Situ was shown old In dian cast-metal figures by a temple steward, who introduced him to the traditional stylistic classifications of Buddhist bronze sculpture. The steward pointed out dif ferent types of metal and characteristic shapes as he refer enced one of the classic manuals on the evaluation of ob jects. Situ was thus initiated at a very young age into a Tibetan tradition of connoisseurship. Situ could paint in at least two different styles-Menri and the Encampment styles-and was a keen observer of early masterpieces and different styles of painting.
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Sets: Situ's Greatest Legacy

Some of Situ Panchen's most important and prominent artistic legacies are the multi-painting sets that he de signed, many of which are still copied to this day. Among these only six were mentioned in Situ Panchen's autobiog raphy as his own commissions. In 1726 Situ painted one of his most striking and highly appreciated sets of paint ings (5), the Eight Great Tantric Adepts (Mahasiddhas). It is the first set that Situ is recorded to have painted and in many ways marks the beginning of his public life as an artistic and religious leader. According to Situ's autobiog raphy he painted this set "in a manner like. the Encamp ment style" (sgar bris itar) and did the sketching, colouring and shading himself. He offered this set of paintings to the Derge ruler Tenpa Tshering (1678-1738) as he formally requested permission to build a new monastery in Derge. This was a watershed in his religious, artistic and political career, and his new monastic seat, Palpung Monastery,.

became the artistic hub for the revival of the Encamp ment style. One of the most widely acclaimed painting sets de signed and commissioned by Situ Panchen is Kshemen dra's One Hundred and Eight Morality Tales (avadana) in twenty-one narrative paintings (6). Situ Panchen began designing his own set of this cycle in 1733, soon after hearing the disastrous news of the sudden and unexpected passing away of his teachers, the Twelfth Karmapa (17031732) and Eighth Shamar (1695-1732) lamas, which thrust Situ at the age of thirty-three into the role of de facto regent of his order. Situ set up a workshop for exe cuting these paintings, for which he himself sketched the comppsitions according to his own original ideas. He per sonally directed the entire process of the painting, from the initial colouring to the finishing details. In order to realise his vision, Situ trained a number of master painters of Karsho (near his previous seat, Karma Monastery) to do most of the painting work. This would have been the last painting in a series, depicting Situ as patron, where he is shown instructing his team of artists in the bottom left corner of the painting. In 1736 Situ composed this long inscription, which would have appeared in this paint ing in the large blank scroll held up by goddesses, outlin ing his intentions: I have followed the Chinese masters in colour, in mood expressed, and form, and I have depicted lands, dress, palaces, and so forth as [I have] actually seen in India. Even though all the discriminating skill of Menthang- [both] New and Old-and the Khyen [ris] tradition followers, Chiugangpa (byeJu sgang pal and the Encampment masters are present here, I have made [these paintings] different III a hundred thousand [particulars of ] style. 3 His mention of things he had "actually seen in India" refers to his first-hand experiences with the culture of the Indian subcontinent while on his first pilgrimage to Nepal in 1723. This is reflected not only in the dress of his figures but also in the distinctive trees in his compositions, as seen in (7). Six additional sets of paintings have been identified in this exhibition as related to Situ or his monastic seat Palpung, using other written sources or on the basis of stylistic similarities with those sets identified in Situ's biog raphies. These similar details include the unusually dimin utive depiction of figures in landscapes, and miniaturist treatments of trees, buildings, palaces and courtyards. For instance this last painting (7) in an eleven-painting set of the eighty-four adepts can be attributed to Palpung. This painting is an excellent example of pigment applica tion in the later Encampment style fostered by Situ, espe cially the characteristic use of graded layers of blue and green applied in dots with the dry tip of a brush (8). This technique builds up the landscape from the blank canvas to deep intense colours, giving the painting a bright, crys talline quality for which the style would become famous. Indeed, Situ reminisced that through the paintings that he designed and commissioned the artistic traditions of his native Kham were beginning to shine again, and he clearly made efforts to revive and maintain the traditions of his home province.

Eight Mahasiddhas
From a Palpung set of the Eighty-four Great Tantric Adepts

Kham province, eastern Tibet, 19th century Mineral pigments on cloth, 48 Y:z x 27 % in (123.2 x 69.2 cm) Rubin Museum of Art Purchased from the collection of Navin Kumar, New York C2005.22.1 (HAR 65598)

Detail of 7, Putalipa gazing at an icon of Samvara

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I bow with devotion to the blessed lady who embodies compassion combined with great bliss, the all-perva sive Perfectly Pure One, and pray that she pacify all my emotional defilements, thoughts and obscura tions, and anoint me with the attainment of (the spir itual level of ) Glorious Heruka! This painting was painted by the hand of Chokyi Nangwa. 5

Basel Vajravarahi by Situ Panchen Chokyi Nangwa (1700-1774) Kham province, eastern Tibet 18th century Pigments on cloth, 9Ys x 7112 in (25 x 19 cm) Gerd-Wolfgang Essen collection, lid 13732 Museum der Kulturen Basel, Switzerland

It is clear that the painter had a good grasp of propor tions, as the figure is well modelled; however, its execution belies a slightly naive quality that one might expect from the hand of someone who is knowledgeable in the fields of art and iconography, though not a professional painter himself. The condition of the object, with badly abraded surface and deeply darkened ground, makes it difficult to evaluate the brushwork of the painter. However in gen eral we can observe some unusual qualities of this paint ing. Especially distinctive is the flat use of gold in Vajra varahi's round full-body nimbus, which shines like the sun. The rounded flames mirror the shape of the gold nimbus, suggesting a sophisticated aesthetic. Another characteristic feature of this group of paintings is found above the Tibetan inscription, where lines of or namental Lancana Sanskrit are written. While this is not in itself unusual for any one painting, we will see this is a pattern on the backs of all four paintings, again suggesting the hand of Situ, who was also a great scholar of Sanskrit. In fact, Situ was quite concerned with consulting original Sanskrit sources for the proper depiction of deities and even names those sources he used in designing some of his sets. Thus this painting embodies many of the elements we might expect from Situ. The back of a small painting of Chakrasamvara (11, 12) features an inscription in Tibetan cursive script that also seems to identify Situ Panchen-again referred to as Chokyi Nangwa-as the artist of this work: May the guru, great glorious Heruka in blissful union with Vajravarahi, protect me in all lifetimes, and may I practice Vajrayana [Buddhism] ! This painting [of them] was painted in the midst of distraction by Cho kyi Nangwa.6

By the Hand of Situ

But what of paintings that do not fall into these categories, compositions that cannot be tracked in Situ's writings or the histories of his monastery? Of particular interest to me while working on this exhibition was bringing together paintings that bear inscriptions attributing them to the hand of Chokyi Nangwa (Chos kyi snang ba), Situ Pan chen's personal name.4 While there is a great deal of in formation in Tibetan sources about sets designed and commissioned by Situ, the gathering of these inscribed paintings provide us with an opportunity to consider for the first time the issue of paintings by Situ's own hand. While works "by the hand of the master" are the essential work of many art historians, the field of Tibetan art his tory is only beginning to be able to approach these basic issues. These issues are not without their challenges; for instance, more than one person in this tradition has the name Chokyi Nangwa, inscriptions themselves can be added later, paintings can be reattributed, and so on. This painting of the goddess Vajravarahi (9, 10), identi fiable by the distinctive sow head peaking out of the right side of her head, bears an inscription on the back naming "Chokyi Nangwa", Situ Panchen's personal name, as artist:


Verso inscription detail of 9


This language "painted in the midst of distraction" (rnam gyeng bar gseng la bris) is quite self-deprecating, even dismissive, and no one else would dare to write about the work of a high incarnate lama such as Situ in this way, and thus this inscription and painting are almost certainly by Situ himself. Like the Basel Vajravarahi, this work is characterised by a small, simple, elegantly proportioned figure lacking the finesse of a professional painter. In par ticular the use of flat gold in the scarf framing Chakra samvara is an unusual feature reminiscent of the Basel painting (9). A sophisticated aesthetic is also suggested in details such as the subdued palette of the tiger skin and garland of severed heads. As mentioned above, Chokyi Nangwa is not a name unique to Situ, and in fact he shared it with one of his most prominent students, the Eighth Drugchen Kunzig Chokyi Nangwa (1768-1822). This shared naming by a follower also interested in painting calls into question the specific identification of Chokyi Nangwa in these inscrip tions as either Situ Panchen or his student. For instance this Chakrasamvara also bears a resemblance to another, roughly contemporaneous painting of Chakrasamvara (13), bearing an inscription on the back written by the Eighth Drugchen (14): I bow with devotion to the great pair in sexual union, the wrathful meditational deity (Heruka) Glorious Chakrasamvara, together with his consort, teacher of the Great Secret (Vajrayana Buddhism), chief deity of all mandalas! May all beings achieve guru Heruka!" [This painting was] painted as a support of the faith for the venerable yogini Dechen Wangmo, by Kagyu Tenpa'i Gyaltsen. May everything be auspicious! 7


Chakrasamvara by Situ Panchen Chokyi Nangwa (1700-1774) Kham povince, eastern Tibet, 18th century Pigments on cloth, 12% x 8341 in (31.4 x 22.2 cm) Rubin Museum of Art C2009.5 (HAR 65846)

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Verso inscription detail of 1 1

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Chakrasamvara by Kunzig Chokyi Nangwa (1768-1822) Kham province, eastern Tibet, late 18th early 19th century Pigments on cloth, 13 x 83,4 in (33 x 22.2 em) Rubin Museum of Art F1997.3.4 (HAR 69)


Verso inscription detail of 13

The dedication is addressed to Dechen Wangmo, a fa mous female yoga practitioner whom the Eighth Drug chen ordained circa 1804, about thirty years after Situ's death. We therefore know that this painting dates to slightly after Situ's time, but still within the lifetimes of his immediate followers. The end of the inscription is a bit ambiguous, and it is unclear if the verb bris8 here means Drugchen painted the entire painting or just wrote the benedictory inscription; however, when one requests a lama for a support (rten), one is typically expecting an im age. These two Chakrasamvara paintings give the strongest bases for direct comparison through their shared subject, as the choice of colour and basic forms of the deity are iconographically determined. In general terms, the approach of the artists in these two paintings is similar in many respects: both pieces share an overall palette that in cludes spare washes of soft blue and green, which act to merely suggest a landscape. Further subtlety is visible in the handling of gold highlights in the flames, coupled with the use of indigo back-shading to throw the flames into re lief. The overall execution of the deities' jewellery and other ornaments are almost identical. However, the fig ures have more balanced proportions in the first work (11). A comparison of the right proper feet of the deities will quickly reveal that the first painter has excellent sense of proportion, while the toes of the latter (13) are clumsy and much too long. The shading is also more delicate in

the first of these two paintings, while one can see the face of the latter divided into awkward artificial planes by heavier application of pigment. All of this suggests differ ent hands of non-professional painters of varying skill. I would argue the first (11) by the master-Situ-the latter (13) by the student-Drugchen-working in the same cir cle of artists. Also notice that the student Drugchen does not refer to himself in the inscription by the name Chokyi Nangwa, probably to avoid the possibility of just such confusion. The calligraphy on the reverse of these two paintings is also interesting to compare, as they are both in an expres sive cursive style, but careful analysis reveals that they are alost certainly by different writers. For instance the let ters are much smaller proportionately to the large calli graphic flourishes in the inscription by the Eighth Drug chen, which is in a more elegant hand. The calligraphy on the Situ painting is written in a characteristic running cur sive ('khyugyig) style of eastern Tibet (Amdo/Kham), but incorporates some flourishes of central Tibet (U /Tsang). The handwriting is fairly distinctive, and looks very simi lar to the handwriting in manuscripts copied by Situ and kept at Palpung Monastery. This is further supporting evi dence to suggest that the first Chakrasamvara (11) paint ing is indeed by the hand of Situ himself. On the back of the painting of the tantric goddess Vaj rayogini (15, 16) is written a eulogistic prayer. The lan guage of the inscription makes it clear that Situ (Chokyi

Another level of evidence is paintings attributed by in scription written (often later) by someone else. For in stance a painting of Black Cloak Mahakala (Gonpo Ber nag chen) (17) on black silk is inscribed with the phrase "Without error [this] painting of Five Deity [Mahakala] was painted by the hand of Cho [-kyi] jung [-ne] 11 and points to some of the artistic models that inspired some of Situ's works. Its unusual appearance, and specifically the sensitive handling of the animals, such as the realistic depiction of the elephant at bottom centre, bears some re semblance to paintings attributed to the Tenth Karmapa, and so this painting has even been reattributed to him. While a silk ground is unusual to Tibetan painting and something that the Tenth Karmapa was known to favour, the handling of the ink clouds here suggests a painter not familiar with how silk absorbs ink, or the techniques of creating layered ink washes-a characteristic technique at which the Tenth Karmapa was a master. Therefore the unambiguous inscription, combined with the unexpressive quality of the brushwork, suggests that Situ painted this work following compositions by the Tenth Karmapa or was at least inspired by that Karmapa's distinctive style. Copying paintings by the great masters has long been a basic aspect of training and appreciation across many tra ditions, and textual evidence confirms that Situ Panchen was particularly interested in the Tenth Karmapa's artis tic career.


Vajrayogini Inscribed by Situ Panchen (1700-1774) Kham province, eastern Tibet, 18th century Pigments on cloth, 13 % x 9 in (33.7 x 22.9 cm) Rubin Museum of Art F1997.3.3 (HAR 61)

Nangwa) wrote it; however, the inscription stops short of attributing this painting to him. It reads: May your actions be forever virtuous through your blessings of the three secrets, Victorious Illuminator Goddess who bestows the pleasure of the highest bliss, gnosis-embodying goddess of immaculate wis dom who is exalted as mistress of the pure twelfth level of highest Buddhahood! So say [I], Chokyi Nangwa. May it be auspicious!9 As a special blessing, after he composed this versified praise, Situ Panchen placed his own handprints onto the back of the painting using a saffron wash. This painting is thus something of a touch relic, serving as Situ's presence in the gallery. The calligraphy of this inscription is quite close to the handwriting in the inscription on the afore mentioned Basel Vajravarahi, and it appears that these two texts were written by the same hand. IO Not only the painting style, but even the calligraphic style of the in scriptions themselves can be used to relate these objects to each other.


Verso of 15
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Black Cloak Mahakala Attributed to Situ Panchen (1700-1774) Kham province, eastern Tibet, 18th century Pigments on s ilk, 22% x 13% in (57.2 x 34.9 cm) Rubin Museum of Art C2002.8.4 (HAR 65083)


Eight Mahasiddhas Kham province, eastern Tibet, 18th-19th century Ink on cloth, 91h x 8% in (24.1 x 21.6 cm) Rubin Museum of Art C2002.43.2 (HAR 65170)

Chinese Painting at Situ's Court and Tibetan Art at Qianlong's Court

Another characteristic of Situ's court at Palpung, featured only at the Sackler venue, is a wider conversance in Chi nese painting. This is expressed in works such as this Eight Mahasiddhas (18), which is executed entirely in mono chrome ink and employs Chinese brush techniques for building up landscapes. This includes the incorporation of standard Chinese landscape tropes, such as scholars crossing a bridge in the bottom left corner. Such paintings are extremely rare within Tibetan artistic traditions but can be found at Palpung Monastery and its satellites. Within the Encampment tradition at its founding, in the late 16th century, there was not just an institutional inter est in Chinese painting which was internalised and made its own, but the Encampment style revival also entailed a

return to Chinese models under Situ's leadership later, in the 18th century. At the same time that Situ Panchen was interested in Chinese painting and encouraging his court to look to Chinese models, the Qianlong Emperor (reigned 17351796) of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) was having his Chinese court artists in Beijing look to Tibetan painting, resulting in fascinating hybrid works such as this portrait of Qianlong as the Bodhisattva Manjushri (19), which is clearly based on a Tibetan prototype in both style and subject matter. These painted portraits of Situ Panchen and the Qianlong Emperor are not only contemporaneous (1 and 19), dating to approximately the 1750-1760s, but we know from Situ's diaries that these two historical fig ures (and their courts) were also in direct correspondence, suggesting a cultural dialogue that made the 18th century a fascinating period of cultural and artistic exchange.

breakthrough of scholarship is made possible only re cently by the dramatic increase in materials, both textual and visual, made available by such projects as the Rubin Foundation's Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) and Himalayan Art Resources (BAR). Further, the rich pre sentation of Lama, Patron, Artist at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery underscores the value of cross-institutional coop eration to bring together exhibits like this. Of cour"se access to the holdings of Palpung Monastery, Situ's seat and artistic hub for the revival of the Encamp ment style, will become critical for further study of Situ's works. In the meantime the opportunity afforded to us now that these paintings have been brought together in this exhibition for the first time, is an important first step in understanding Situ the artist-a seminal figure in the history of Tibetan art.

The author would like to thank co-curator Dr David Jackson and calligrapher Perna Bhum of Latse Library for all their help and advice, as well as Ariana Maki for her many useful suggestions. The original title of the ex hibition at RMA, Patron & Painter, is the same RMA exhi bition travelling to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and the title of the catalogue bears the Patron & Painter name.
I sprul sku ba nam mkha' bkra shis ni I YaT stong du 'khrungs I byis pa chung du'i dus nas "de nyi kyi sprul par zhal gyis bzhes I sku gzugs kyi phrin las byed pO!. lung bstan cing zhwa dmar lnga pas ijags I bkod mdzad de sgar bris kyi srol bstugs pa'ol Si tu Pan chen and 'Be 10, folio 65. 2

p. !OJ.

[effaced] . .. rdo je'i sku thang 'dil rgyaL ba nyid kyis bags bkod pars?] grub pa'il dbon shar phyogs kong btsun gyisll skaL ba bzang phyir u btsug [effaced] dge 'dis 'gro kun sangs rgyas sa dgod shog//' Translated by Jackson (2009),

3 tshon dang ri mo'i n)'ams rnam gyur II rgya nag mkhas pa'i "des 'brangs nas II yul dang cha lugs khang bzang sogs II 'phags yul mngon sum mthong bzhin byas II sman thang gsar rnying mkhyen lugs pall bye'u sgang pa sgar bris pa'ill rnam dpyod de kun 'dir ldan yangll nyams 'gyur 'bum gyi khyad par byas II. Trans
lated by Jackson (2009), p. 12. 4This is an aspect of the exhibition not represented in the catalogue.


The Oianlong Emperor as Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom Imperial workshop Emperor's face painted by Giuseppe Castiglione (Lang Shining), 1688-1766 Oing dynasty, Oianlong reign, mid-18th century Thangka (unmounted), ink and colour on silk Image 44% x 250/16 in (113.6 x 64.3 cm) Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC Purchase-Anonymous donor and Museum funds, F2000.4

... bde chen thugs rje'i bdag 7!Jid bcom ldan mal kun khyab kun tu bzang mor gus 'dud tel nyon mongs rtog sgrib thams cad nyer zhi nasi he ru ka dpal thob pa'i dbang bskur stsoll sku thang 'di chos kyi snang pasl Lag bris su bgyis pa'ol .

bla ma dpal chen he ru ka Iphag mo mnyam sbyor bde ba ches IItshe rabs rtag tu skyong ba dang I rdo "de theg la spyod gyur cig Ices pa'i bris thang 'di chos kyi l snang bas rnam g,yeng bar gseng La bris I.

gsang chen ston pa dkyil 'khor kun gyi gtso I he ru ka dpaL bde mchog btsun mor bcas I mnyam sbyor zung Jug chen por gus 'dud do I skye kun bla ma he ru ka 'grub shog ces pa yang "de btSlln rnal 'byor ma bde chen dbang mo'i dad rten du I bka' brgyud bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan gyis bris pa I.
8 9

bris can mean either

"to write" or "to draw Ipaint".


bcu gnyis dag pa'i sa yi dbang phyug tu I mngon 'phags rdul braL shes Tab ye shes ma I bde mchog bde ster bcom ldan snang mdzad mas I gsang gsum byin gyis rtag tu dge bar mdzod I ces chos kyi snang bas brjod pa I mangalam I.

Lama, Patron, Artist is the inaugural exhibition within a groundbreaking series of exhibitions at the Rubin Mu seum of Art, entitled Masterworks of Tibetan Painting, guest curated by the leading scholar in the field, Dr David Jackson. Based on his methodology of approaching paint ings as historical documents, the exhibition and catalogue is an important step toward bringing textual evidence to bear in contextualising extant works of art. Such a major

The calligraphic style of both these inscriptions is a little more for

mal in execution than that of the other two, more cursive, inscriptions discussed, and thus makes a good comparison. While this style is a bit more stiff and unexpressive, one can single out several characteristic letters, such as of the "i" vowel

tu, where the top is often longer, and gyi, where the top (gyi gu) is truncated, which suggest that these two texts

were written by the same hand.

mkhor lnga'i zhaT thang chos 'byung phyag bris 'khrul med lagl ['Jkhor lnga'i zha[l] thang chos 'byung phyag bris 'khrul med lag[s] /.
Arts 01 Asio