Vailochan 13 Mandala

  • Newari religion painting
  • painted Style: 13 century
Materials: Real Natural Mineral Pigments, 24K Gold Paint Embellishment, Cotton Canvas

Description:The inscription per tradition opens with sacred mantras, including the mantras of Sarvavid Vairocana and Vajrasattva, and a general blessing. In the lower register, in the same handwriting as the dedication prayers, the final sentence relates the unique commission of the painting.
The inscription on this thangka is historically significant as the only recorded thangka created for a Tibetan sanctuary which was commissioned and painted in Nepal—rather than being created in Tibet by Newari artisans.
It has been possible to identify the latter Buddhist master and where he lived. His full name was Jangling Wönchen Rinchen Gyalpo, and he was a teacher at the North Chapel of the Riphu hermitage of the Sakya monastery of Shalu in the 15th century. Jangphu Wönchen Rinpoche was reputed for his teachings and transmission of the cycle of mandalas of the Gyüde Kundu at Shalu.As inheritors of the great Buddhist traditions of India, Tibetans looked to India as a source of artistic and philosophical inspiration since its adoption of Buddhism in the early 8th century. Due to the expansion of Islam and the subsequent decline of Buddhism throughout India starting in the 13th century, Tibet turned to the neighboring Buddhist communities of the Kathmandu Valley. Newari artisans, renowned for their skill in the traditional arts of bronze casting, painting and woodcarving, began to fill the ateliers and workshops of Central Tibet. Within a generation after the decline of Indian Buddhism, Tibetan ateliers had completely assimilated the Newari style of painting which reached its height in the period from 1360—1460 and became the stylistic touchstone of Central Tibetan art.
The inscription does not record why the commission was placed in Nepal on behalf of a Tibetan monastery, a rare and intriguing occurrence considering the numerous instances known of Newar artists working in Tibetan sanctuaries. A history of Ngor monastery written in 1688 by the twenty-fifth abbot Sangye Phuntsok (1649—1705) records that six Newar artists who travelled to Ngor in the fifteenth century were commissioned by the incumbent Kunga Sangpo (1382—1456) to paint a complete set of mandalas of the Vajravali cycle and three additional Kriyasamuccaya mandalas, see D. Jackson, A History of Tibetan Painting, Wien, 1996, p. 78. Perhaps the artist of this painting was unwilling to travel but was held in particular esteem by his patron for the quality of his work and iconographic knowledge of a mandala of such complexity.

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