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UMI Number: 3447223

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Copyright by Elena A. Pakhoutova All Rights Reserved December 2009

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Table of Contents
Table of Contents Introduction The Subject Purpose/Objective Methodology Previous Scholarship Plan of the Dissertation iii 1 1 2 3 4 10

Part 1 Portable representations 13 Chapter 1 Eastern Indian Representations of the Eight Great Events and Typology of Stpas 13 Introduction 13 Textual Sources Related to the Practice of Building and Worshipping Stpas 17 Clay objects (tsa tsa) 31 Identifiable Types of Stpas among Clay Objects (tsa tsa) 33 Clay Plaques, Votive Stpas, Enlightenment at Vajrsana, and Dharmakaya 36 Manuscript Illuminations 41 Depictions of Stpas within the Scenes of the Life of the Buddha 42 Images of Stpas Related to Sacred Sites 44 Chapter 1 Conclusion 46 Chapter 2 Portable Objects Related to the Eight Great Events in Tibet 48 Introduction 48 Sculpture 50 The Mahbodhi Temple Models 50 Clay Plaques tsa tsa 54 Stpa Models (Reliquaries) 60 Stone Plaques 62 Manuscript Illuminations of the Perfection of Wisdom Stra 72 Eastern Indian Manuscripts in Tibet 72 Tibetan Manuscripts 78 Chapter 2 Conclusion 84 Chapter 3: Tibetan thang ka Paintings of the Eight Great Events of the Buddhas Life 88 Introduction 88 Vajrsana paintings 89 Paintings of the Eight Great Events 93 Thoughts on the use and production 96 The Khara Khoto painting 100 Iconographic considerations 102 Stylistic considerations 114 Chapter 3 Conclusion 122

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Part 2 Representations in Murals, Structures, Sites Chapter 4 Central Tibet Introduction The Early Temples Decoration Kyangbu Yemar Zhalu Monastery Vajrsana, Lineages, and Monastic Seats Stpas, their Typology and Associations Zhangs Stpa at Tsal Chapter 4 Conclusion Chapter 5 Yulin Cave 3 Reflection on Sacred Sites Introduction Visual Program of Cave 3 at Yulin Composition and Iconography of the Main (Eastern) Wall Central Panel North Panel South Panel Other Murals and Overall Iconography of the Cave Panels with Maalas Pure Land Panels Scenes with Majur and Samantabhadra Pictorial Means Employed in the Caves Visual Program Chapter 5 Conclusion Chapter 6: Western Tibet and Western Himalayan Sites Introduction Western Tibet Tholing Dungkar Nyag Cave-temple at Khatse The Western Himalayas Tabo The Main Temple at Tabo The Decorated Stpas at Tabo Alchi, Ladakh The Main Temple (Assembly Hall) at Alchi The Three-story Temple at Alchi Alchi Stpa Shrines The Five-Tower Stpa The Twin (Smaller) Stpa Other Decorated Stpas in Ladakh and Zanskar The Four Image Stpa at Mangyu The Stpa at Kharsha Stpas at Lamayuru, Shangrong, and Basgo

125 125 125 127 127 131 132 137 141 147 154 157 157 159 160 160 165 170 175 176 180 182 185 189 192 192 194 194 205 214 217 217 217 220 221 223 227 230 230 235 236 237 238 241

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Stpas at Nyarma The Stpa near Tikse Chapter 6 Conclusion Concluding remarks Images Select Bibiliography

242 244 245 248 251 368

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List of Images
1.1 Clay plaque (tsa tsa) with stpas, c. 8th-9th c. (?), the British Museum, OA 1887 1.2 Tsa tsa from Bodhgay, circa 10th century, Bodhgaya Site Museum. After Lawson (1988), fig. 12 1.3 Clay plaque, circa 10th-11th century, Nland, Bihar, India. After Huntington (1990), fig. 56 1.4 Clay sealings with the Formula of Dependent Origination from Bodhgay, 9th-10th century, The British Museum. After Lawson (1988), figs. 9-11 1.5 Metal stpa from Nland with the Eight Great Events of the Buddhas Life, circa 9th century, The National Museum, New Delhi. After Pal (1984), no. 69

1.8 Stone stele of the Buddhas Descent from the Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods, c. 800 C.E. The British Museum, OA 1963.2-14.1 1.9. Stone stele of the Buddhas Descent from the Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods, Bihar, India circa late 9th century. After Huntington (1990), fig. 9 1.10 Stone stele of the Eight Great Events of the Buddhas Life, Jagdispur, near Nland, Bihar, 10th century. After J. Huntington (1987), II, fig. 2 1.11 Stone stele of the Eight Great Events of the Buddhas Life, eastern India, 11th c., the British Museum, OA 1942.4-15.3 1.12 Prajparamit manuscript from Nland monastery, Bihar, India, 1073 C.E., Asia Society 1987.1 1.13 Buddhas Descend from the Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods. Prajparamit manuscript India, 997 C.E., The Cambridge University Library, Add.1464, folio128 recto, right panel. After Jamieson (2000), 60 1.14 Stone stele of the Eight Great Events, Sarnath, Bihar, India, 7th-8th century, Srnth National Museum, no. C(a)2. After Williams (1975), fig. 3

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1.7 Drawing of a clay stpa from Gdul-i hangarn, Ghazni, Afghanistan, circa 9thcentury (?) After Taddei fig. 2

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1.6 Drawing of a clay stpa, the British Museum, OA 40, circa 10th century. After Lawson, page 81, c

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1.15 Stone stele of the Taming of the Elephant Nalagiri, Bihar, India, c. 10th c., The Rubin Museum of Art, C2006.71.9 1.16 Ornate stpa in Oradea (northern Orissa, India). Prajparamit manuscript, Nepal, 1015 C.E., The Cambridge University Library Add.1643, folio169 recto, left panel. After Jamieson (2000), 48, 105 1.17 Ornate Rhinoceros stpa (khaga caitya) on the Black Mountain in Konkan, India. Prajparamit manuscript, Nepal, 1015 C.E., The Cambridge University Library Add.1463 folio 214 verso, right panel. After Jamieson (2000), 55, 105 1.18 The stpa in the Deer Park at Vrendr (northwestern Bangladesh), Prajparamit manuscript, Nepal, 1015 C.E., The Cambridge University Library Add.1643 folio 176 verso, right panel. After Jamieson (2000), 30, 104 1.19 The stpa in Tirhut, Bihar, India. Prajparamit manuscript, Nepal, 1015 C.E., The Cambridge University Library Add.1643, folio 214 verso, left panel. After Jamieson (2000), 64, 105

2.1 Model of the Mahbodhi Temple at Bodhgay, sandalwood, c. 11th century. Eastern Indian work (?) Potala Collection: Lima lha khang, inv. no.1335. a: East face; b: West face, c: North face. After Schroeder (2001), figs. 113A-C 2.2 Clay plaques tsa tsa. Buddha in Vajrsana. Tibet, 10th-13th century. After Lui Dong (2000), figs. 28, 31 2.3 Clay plaques tsa tsa. Many doors and Descent type stpas. Tibet, 10th-13th century. After Lui Dong (2000), figs. 146, 147. 2.4 Clay plaques tsa tsa. Many doors, Descent, Pariniva, Enlightenment, Miracles, and Birth type stpas. Tibet, 10th-13th century (?) 2.5 Clay plaques tsa tsa. Eight types of stpas, a: Tholing monastery; b: Tibet, 10th-13th century (?) 2.6 Clay plaques tsa tsa in a stpa/cone shape a: composite stpa, Tibet, 13th-17th century (?); b: composite stpas, India or Tibet (from an Indian mold), 10th-13th century

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1.20 The golden stpa at Puruapura, Gndhra (Peshawar), Prajparamit manuscript, Nepal 1015 C.E., The Cambridge University Library Add.1643, folio 123 verso, left panel. After Jamieson (2000), 96, 106

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c: stpa with relief of eight stpas, Tibet, 13th-17th century (?). After Lui Dong (2000), figs. 151, 144, 152. 2.7 Metal reliquary stpas a: Many doors type. Jo khang, Lhasa, inv. no. 178; b: Parnirvaa type. Potala, Lhasa: Li ma lha khang, inv. no. 227, Pla style, Tibet, 12th-13th century. After Schroeder (2001), figs. 119A, 119C 2.8 Metal stpas of Parnivaa type, also known as Kadampa stpa. Mindroling (Tib. sMin grol gling) monastery, Tibet, 11th-13th century 2.9 Miniature stone sculptures of the Eight Great Events. Potala, Lhasa: Lima lha khang. After von Schroeder (2001), fig. V-3 2.10 Miniature stone sculpture of the Eight Great Events, 11th 12th century A Tibetan inscription of the Verse of Dependent Origination (Prattyasamutpda gth) and consecrational syllables O , H on verso. Potala, Lhasa: Li ma Lha Khang, inv. no. 1631. After von Schroeder (2001), fig. 129C, D 2.11 Miniature stone sculptures of the Eight Great Events. Potala, Lhasa. a: 12th century, at Bla ma khang, inv. no. 2020 b: 1050-1150 C.E. at Li ma Lha Khang, inv. no. 1620 (?). After von Schroeder (2001), figs. 129 A, B 2.12 Illuminations of the Prajparmit stra on palm leaf and painted wooden covers eastern India, 1195 C.E., Bhara Khala Bhavan. After Kim (2006), figs. 2.88, 4.99, 4.100. 2.13 Miniature stone sculpture of the Eight Great Events (with Crowned Buddha and Seven Stations). c. 12th century. Potala, Lhasa: Li ma lha khang, inv. no. 1626. After Schroeder, fig. 130B 2.14 Illuminations of the Prajparmit stra on palm leaf, eastern India, 1208 C.E., Asiatic Society, Mumbai. After Kim (2006), fig. 4.85 2.15 Tibetan teacher with his Lineage. Miniature stone stele. 12th century. Potala, Lhasa: Li ma lha khang, inv. no. 1552. After Schroeder (2001), fig. 122D 2.16 Prajpramit stra manuscript, Nland, India, 1073 C.E., 1151 C.E. Asia Society, New York, 1987.1 2.17 Prajpramit stra manuscript, eastern India, 1096 C.E. After Samkrtyayana and Pathak (1986), pl. 24

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2.18 Prajpramit manuscript, Nland, India, ca. 1124. Tibet Museum, Lhasa. After Treasures from the Roof of the World, fig. 37. A-C Details of the above 2.19 Frontispiece of the Prajparmit stra, Poo village in Kinnaur, western Himalaya, first half of the 12th century. After Klimburg-Salter (1994), fig. 1 2.20 Illustrated folio of the Prajparmit stra, Western Tibet, c. 12th century. After Pal (2003), fig. 98 2.21 Illustrated folios of the Prajparmit stra, Central Tibet, c. 13th century. After Pal (2003), fig. 126 2.22 Painted wooden manuscript cover. Central Tibet, c. 12th century. After Kossak and Singer (1998), no. 8 2.23 Illustrated folio of the Prajparmit stra, Central Tibet, c. 13th century. HAR 73811 3.1 Vajrsana Buddha, painting on cloth, Tibet, second half of the 11th century. After Himalayas, pl. 114) 3.2 Buddha at Vajrsana, painting on cloth, Tibet, mid 11th century (?) After BautzePicron, 1995/1996, fig. 1 3.3 Eight Great Events of the Buddhas Life, painting on cloth, Tibet, 11th-12th century. After Pal (1991), no. 81 3.4 Eight Great Events of the Buddhas Life, thang ka painting, Tibet, c. 12th century. After Pal (2003), no. 121 3.5 Eight Great Events of the Buddhas Life, thang ka painting, Tibet, c. 12th century. After Bautze-Picron (1995/1996), fig. 24 3.6 Layout of the scenes (based on fig. 3.4) 3.7 The Buddha at Vajrsana and stpas, painting on cloth, Khara Khoto, 12-13th century. Aafter The Lost Empore of the Silk Route: Buddhist Art from Khara Khoto (XXIIIth century) pl.6 4.1 kyamunis victory over Mra, Kyangbu temple, before 1037. After Tucci 1988, vol. 4, fig. 7 4.2 Stpa, in the south temple at Kyanbu, gilded bronze circa 11th-12th century, no longer extant. After Tucci 1988, vol. 4, fig. 18

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4.3 kyamunis victory over Mra, Yemar temple, before 1037. After Vitali, 1990, pl.28 4.4 Plan of the early chapels of Zhalu. Arawing by the author 4.5 Vajrsana Buddha, mural painting, Zhalu, Entrance chapel, presently Protectors temple. Photo by Amy Heller 4.6 Teaching Buddha (First Sermon?), Zhalu Protectors Temple. Photo by Amy Heller 4.7 One of the eight stpas (the Descent type), Circumambulation Path by Tengyur Temple at Zhalu. Photo by Rob Linrothe 4.8 Shara Bumpa (the stpa of Sharapa), Central Tibet. After Richardson, BMR.6.8.221

4.9 Renovated Tsechu Bumpa (Water of Life Stpa), Central Tibet. After Richardson BMR.6.8.78 4.10 Neusur Monastery, present day, Central Tibet. After Roesler, page 39 4.11 Portrait of Zhang, circa late 12th early 13th century, by Marpa Lhakar (?) Jaques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, Staten Island, NY. After Sorensen and Hazod 2007, Appendix 1, fig. 4 4.12 Great Stpa at Tsal Gunthang, early 13th century a: Satellite Image. After Sorensen ad Hazod 2007, vol. 1, fig.4 b: Great Stpa at Tsal Gunthang, photo by Charles Bell, circa 1920, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. After Sorensen and Hazod, 2007, vol. 1, fig. 7 5.1 General view of Yulin cave 3. After The Yulinku Grottoes, pl. 141 5.2 Layout of Yulin cave 3 5.3 Yulin cave 3 ceiling decoration. After The Yulinku Grottoes, pl. 171 5.4 Main (east) wall panels, Yulin cave 3. After The Yulinku Grottoes, pl. 142, 144; The Anxi Yulin Grottoes, pl. 19 5.5 Maala of Amitabha, Tibet, 13th century. After Pal (2003), pl.133

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5.6 Eight Great Events of the Buddhas Life, central panel of the east (main) wall, Yulin cave 3, detail of Parinirva scene, upper central section. After The Yulinku Grottoes, pl. 143 5.7 Thousand-armed Avalokitevara, north panel of the east wall, Yulin cave 3. After The Yulinku Grottoes, pl. 142 5.8 Thousand-armed Avalokitevara, thang ka painting, Tibet, 12th century. After Kossak and Singer (1998), pl.12 5.9 Thousand-armed deity with fifty one heads, north panel of the east wall, Yulin cave 3. After The Yulinku Grottoes, pl. 144

5.13 Uavijaya maala, east panel of the south wall. After The Yulinku Grottoes, pl. 153 5.14 Western panel of the south wall: maala of Vairocana. After The Yulinku Grottoes, pl. 154 5.15 Central panel of the south wall: Pure Land of Amitabha, Amitayurdhyna Stra. After The Yulinku Grottoes, pl. 150 5.16 Samantabhadra panel, south part of west (entrance) wall. After The Yulinku Grottoes, pl. 158 6.1 Tholing monastery main temple, Western Tibet. Photograph by the author 6.2 Outer stpa on the corner of the main temple, Tholing, Western Tibet. Photograph by the author 6.3 Satellite image of the main temple at Tholing and four outer stpas visible at the corners of the enclosure (NFGIS, Digital Globe, Europa Technologies, Google, 2009) 6.4 Vairsana stpa complex, Tholing monastery, western Tibet. Photograph by the author

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5.12 Detail of eastern panel of the north wall: Vajrapi maala. After The Yulinku Grottoes, pl. 141

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5.11 Detail of north panel of the east mural: working with metal, below is wine production, husking of grain. After The Yulinku Grottoes, pls. 146, 147

5.10 One of the Baisikou twin pagodas, Ningxia, ca. 12th century. After Linrothe (1996) fig. 8

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6.5 The renovated stpa of the Descent type, on the northeast outside of the monasterys wall. Tholing complex, circa 11th century (?), recently renovated. Photograph by the author 6.6 Details of murals at Tholing monastery: a: Prophesy by Asita, Amoghasiddhi temple, main temple b: Enlightenment, Mani Lhakhang, Tholing monastery. After Namgyal, pp. 89-90 6.7 Dungkar caves general view, Western Tibet. Photograph by the author 6.8 Dungkar cave 1, Western Tibet. a: General view. Photograph by J. Poncar, WHAV b:Plan of cave 1 at Dungkar. Drawing by the author, not to scale 6.9 Details of section with the stpas, Dungkar cave 1, Western Tibet. a: Details of main wall, lower right corner. Photograph by Rob Linrothe b: Detail of fig. 6.9a. Seven stpas. Dungkar cave 1. Photograph by the author

6.11a Life of the Buddha, west wall, Dungkar cave 1. Photograph by the author 6.11b Donors assembly, south wall right, lower register, Dungkar cave 1. Photograph by Rob Linrothe 6.12 Dungkar cave 2 ceiling maala. Photograph by T. Pritzker, HAR 8087 6.13 Mural depicting the Buddha and a large assembly, north wall of Nyag Lhakhang Kharpo cave-temple near Khatse, Western Tibet. After Pritzker, 2008, fig. 4 6.13a Details of north wall mural at Nyag cave-temple showing a monk offering stpas. 6.14 Central Vairocana throne, Four Decenty type stpas on the central pole Tabo Main Temple 6.15 Plan of Tabo Assembly Hall 6.16 Details of east wall murals showing scenes of the Buddhas Life: a: Gift of Honey b: Descent from the Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods and Taming of the Mad Elephant. WHAV CL93 17, 33; CL93 17, 34

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6.10 Dungkar cave 1 lantern ceiling. Photograph by A. Maki, HAR 67005

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6.17 Eight stpas mural painting, Alchi Main Temple/Assembly Hall. WHAV Alchi Dukhang 7.5.21 6.18 Main Temple Wooden Portal, Alchi, Ladakh. Photograph by the author 6.19 Plan of the Three-Story Temple, Alchi, Ladakh. Drawing by the author 6.20 Akobhya/kyamuni in his realm, the right wall panel mural of the Maitreya sculptures niche, Three-story Temple, Alchi, Ladakh. After Goepper, 1996, page 139 6.21 The Five Tower (Great) Stpa at Alchi, circa 13th century. Photograph by the author 6.22 View of the Inner Stpa within the Five Tower (Great) Stpa at Alchi. Photograph by the author

6.25 Twin stpas at Alchi, circa 13th century, Ladakh, western Himalaya. WHAV, CL98 102,1 a: View of the left stpa b: View of the right stpa that contains murals and an inner stpa. Photograph by the author 6.26 Murals of the interior space within the inner stpa of the right of the Twin stpas. Photograph by the author 6.27 The Four Image Stpa at Mangyu, Ladakh, western Himalaya: a: View of the outside of the stpa. After Linrothe 1994, fig. 2 b: View of the inside of the stpa facing east wall. WHAV CL98 113,320 6.28 Decorated entrance stpa at Karsha, Zanskar, western Himalaya, circa 13th century a: View of the outside of the stpa b: The ceiling with the figure of Akobhya inside the stpa at Karsha 6.29 a: Shangrong stpa near Alchi, Ladakh. WHAV CL98 119,12 b: Main (east) wall mural showing Vajrocana, kyamuni (proper right), and teacher portrait (proper left). WHAV CL98 119,5

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6.24 Mural depicting the main teacher (Jigten Gompo), east wall of the interior space within the inner stpa of the Five Tower Stpa at Alchi. Photograph by the author

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6.23 Decorated Space of the inner stpa of the Five Tower (Great) Stpa, Alchi, Ladakh Photograph by the author

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6.30 Lamayuru stpa, Ladakh, western Himalaya a: inside view up the lantern ceiling. WHAV CL94 28,8 b: Mural depicting Ratnasambhava. WHAV CL98 57, 23 6.31 Basgo stpa, Ladakh, western Himalaya a: outer view of the stpa. CL05 DSCN4261 b: inner view of the stpa. CL05 DSCN4262 6.32 Iconographic programs of stpas at Nyarma, Ladakh, western Himalaya. After Kozicz 2007, fig. 3 6.33 Stpa at Tikse, Ladakh, western Himalaya. WHAV CL 98 88,02; CL98 88,04 a: view from outside b: view of the inner structure and murals showing different types of stpas

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Abstract
This project examines representations of the Eight Great Events of the Buddhas Life and their Commemorative Stpas in the Medieval Art of Tibet as a visual and religious theme. The Eight Great Events images were most prominent in India during the Pla period (8th-12th century) and in the medieval art of numerous Buddhist countries. Various forms of these representations feature the scene of the

and reflect symbolic and religious connotations of later Buddhist tradition, including

the Buddhas Enlightenment, with the sacred site of its occurrence Vajrsana and the other events with their respective sites as well. I argue that this themes representations were central to the process of active assimilation of Indian Buddhist culture and formation of Tibetan religious traditions during the period known as the Renaissance of Buddhist culture in Tibet (10th - 13th centuries). Founders of new Tibetan institutions were establishing their own authority and sanctity through affinity with the Indian sacred sites, purposefully utilizing various artistic forms of the Eight Great Events representations, reinterpreting their symbolic and religious connotations, and eventually reproducing them in the form and image of their stpa-monuments. The representations, especially those that articulate the three-dimensional, or maala-like layout of the events and emphasize commemorative stpas, suggest that the convention of representing the Eight Great Events came to signify India as the central place where

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esoteric. Textual sources on the Eight Great Events directly associate the main even,

Buddhas Enlightenment as central, surrounded by remaining scenes of the events

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the Eight Great Events occurred and eventually reproduce the sacred sites in their physical form but on a different soil, in Tibet. This project considers these representations in all their media and in relation to related textual traditions as well. Affinities between Indian and Tibetan representations are interpreted as expressions of a common religious and visual convention that found specific applications in Tibet, not merely in terms of Indian artistic influences. The inquiry crosses geographic and disciplinary boundaries and integrates visual and textual material within the specific context of this period, which, despite the importance of this theme, has not been done in the past.

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Acknowledgements
I am glad that I can express my deepest gratitude to all people who in various ways helped to make this project come to fruition. They are many and come from all walks of academic and the other life. It is not possible to name them all, not for the lack of wanting but space, so I acknowledge only some of them individually. First of all, boundless thanks to my teachers of Tibetan Buddhist traditions:

Thubten, Geshe Tashi Tsering, late Venerable Lobsang Gyatso, Gen Gyatso, Nechung

understand Tibetan religious culture and eventually its visual expressions as well. Utmost gratitude to my artist teachers: Lopn Karma from Bhutan, his fellow masters, and Tibetan sculptors who initially facilitated the First Encounter, of the Best Kind, with traditional Tibetan and Bhutanese art. Thank you to my Tibetan language teachers who taught me more than Tibetan language. Thanks to all my teachers at the McIntire Department of Art at the University of Virginia, who offered wealth of knowledge and resources, as well as appropriate guidance and direction throughout the course of my studies: particularly my dissertation adviser Professor Dorothy Wong, who taught me amazing arts of East Asia and Dunhuang and kept me on track, Professor Daniel Ehnbom, who opened up a wonderful world of Indian painting and sculpture, and counseled as the Graduate Studies Director. I was fortunate to learn from these specialists in the East and South Asian Arts. Other Graduate Studies advisers helped, supervised, and encouraged

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Kuten, and others whose patience, kindness, time, and effort greatly helped me to

late Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche, Denma Lodro Rinpoche, Khamtrul Rinpoche, Kenpo

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along the way -- Professors Marion Roberts and Howard Singerman. I thank Professors Malcolm Bell for his inspiring classes and encouragement, David Summers for his appealing theoretical inquiries into all aspects of art including Asian Art, John Dobbins for his interest in my progress and an occasional kind advice, Eric RamirezWeaver who graciously agreed to be on my dissertation committee and provided feedback and support at the final stages of the project. Thanks to all other professors at the Department who indirectly supported my studies and this project. Finally, a special appreciation goes to Professor Larry Goedde, the Chair of the Department who always offered time, advice, and support often needed especially during the dissertation writing period.

Curator Dr. Andrea Douglas, then Interim Director Professor Beth Turner, Exhibitions Manager AnnaMarie Liddell, and everyone there for providing an exciting opportunity to learn first hand and curate exhibitions. Even though not related to this dissertation, the time spent at the Museum on a fellowship allowed for continuing work on this project and exploring the world of museums as well. Another round of gratitude is to professors at the Department of Religious Studies: David Germano on my dissertation committee for his time, advice, ideas and support, and for stimulating classes on Tibetan Buddhist Renaissance and Tantra directly related to the period of this project; Karen Lang, Paul Groner, and Kurtis Schaeffer who always offered kind advice and help.

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My thanks to the stuff at the University of Virginia Museum of Art: the Chief

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A few scholars of Tibetan Buddhist art have been a great impetus and invaluable source of knowledge Dr. Amy Heller, who always found time to respond and shared her research, images, and expertise; Professor Rob Linrothe, who also shared his discoveries, photographs, research, and offered counsel when the dissertation was just getting started; and Christian Luczanits whose research on western Himalayan and West Tibetan sites continues being published. Heartfelt gratitude for your work and inspiration. Thanks to a generous support of the Gerda Henkel Stiftung Foundations Dissertation Research Fellowship and the McIntire Department of Art Nichols Travel Grant, this project took me to European Museum collections and libraries, to Indian

many people. Heartfelt thanks to late Henry Ginsburg, then at the British Library, for his tremendously kind support, and hospitality. Thanks to Dr. Jerry Losty and Dr. Burkhard Quessel of the British Library for their time and advice as well. Thanks to Dr. Michael Willis at the British Museum for his interest and discussions of parts of this project. Many thanks to Dr. Simon Lawson at the Oxford Indian Institute Library for providing access to his unpublished Doctoral thesis on Indian clay plaques that was used in this dissertation. Thanks to Kabir Heimsath at Oxford University for his hospitality, support, and help with several books. Sincere gratitude to Professor Deborah Klimburg-Salter and all the people at the Himalayan Archive Vienna who facilitated research on this project in Vienna and found time for advice. I truly appreciate time and effort given by Professor Dr.

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western Himalaya and to Tibet, where I greatly depended on kindness and help of

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Marianne Yaldiz, Russell Dick, and everyone who helped to accommodate my research at the Berlin Museum of Indian Art. Thanks to Tsering Gyalpo at the Tibetan Academy of Social Sciences (TASS) who shared his knowledge of Western Tibetan travels and sites. Thanks to Puchung (TASS) and Professor Karl Ryavec (University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point) for being traveling companions to Western Tibet where often our lives literally hang in a balance. Thanks to Ying Liu who was a point person at Lhasa Tibet University and provided kind advice and friendship.

Thanks to my other numerous traveling companions in western Himalaya (Tibetan, Ladhaki, and westerners) for sharing a lot of tsampa, thukpa, tea, and stories.

me to eventually embark on the academic path: Gene Smith at the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, Professor Janet Gyatso at Harvard Divinity School, Professor Andy Quitman, now at Yale Religious Studies Department, Alex Kocharov, the artist working in Tibetan traditional painting, all encouraged and supported me going back to school. Great thanks to Jake Dalton, now Professor at Berkeley, who was a great partner on our Indian and Himalayan adventures, and a motivating force during academic applications writing and waiting process. My fellow graduate students at the McIntire Department of Art: Tanya Paul, Catherine Walden, Cory Korkow, Kevin Cole, Liz Hahn and others created welcome and collegial environment, warm thanks to them all. Particular thanks to SeungJung Kim, a great friend beyond school, and to her family, including Xiabalba.

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Special thanks to other scholars and friends whose direct help or advice led

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Many thanks to graduate students at the Religious Studies Department who helped make Charlottesville my home, sometimes in a literal sense: my housemates Dan Kent and David Newman (formerly of the THDL), and neighbor Suzanne Bessenger. Thanks to Jann Ronis for camaraderie during the writing and numerous other help, Chris Hatchel and Kimberly Dukes for friendship and companionship, Brenton Sullivan, his wife Kerri, and other students for being a fun group to be around. Thanks to Jonathan Partridge, an incredible artist in his own right, who mastered traditional Tibetan clay sculpture and was a friend and inspiration after my apprenticeship with Bhutanese artists. Thanks to my non-academic friends in Russia,

friendship, love, and acceptance.

Thanks to my extended family that is spread across two continents for their support. Deepest gratitude to my grandparents whose treasured and hidden knowledge of Kalmuk culture and tradition could have been mined more but served as an impetus for the quest to discover, understand, and know our own history through stories of ancestors, memories, and appreciation of the present. Loving thanks to my immediate family -- my mother and father whose intellectual curiosity, travels, and academic learning constantly inspired me, and whose unwavering support, love, and understanding allowed for unlikely paths to eventually converge here.

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Europe, India, Nepal, Tibet, and Japan. I am always grateful for your amazing

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To my parents

Introduction
The Subject
Depictions of the Eight Great Events of the Buddhas Life -- the Birth, His Enlightenment, the First Sermon, His Descent from the Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods, His Multiplication Miracle, the Taming of the Mad Elephant, the Gift of Honey,

in the medieval art of numerous Buddhist countries. Developed in India during the fifth to the ninth century as a hagiographical, visual convention representing the main episodes in kyamunis life, they were also associated with locations of the events and their commemorative monuments, stpas. Representations of these events include various forms, portable as well as monumental. Among the former are illustrated manuscripts of the Perfection of Wisdom Stra (Prajpramit), paintings on cloth (thang ka), clay and stone plaques, and votive clay stpas. Large sculptural images (steles), murals, architectural structures, such as temples founded at this time in Tibet and western Himalaya, decorated stpa-shrines, and the eight types of stpa monuments built at monastic sites comprise the latter group of representations. Although the subject matter, forms, and style of the Eight Great Events depictions originated in India, they took different artistic and symbolic forms in Tibet and came to reflect particular socio-political circumstances of the Tibetan

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and the Buddhas Parinirvana -- were a prominent narrative and artistic theme found