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Painted Banner (Thangka) of Bon Deity Tonpa Shenrap

A work made of opaque watercolor with gold on cotton.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of opaque watercolor with gold on cotton.

Date:

16th century

Artist:

Western Tibet, Guge

About this artwork

At the center of the thangka, Tonpa Shenrap, the founder of Bon, a pre-Buddhist religion of the Himalayas (prior to the 8th century), presides on an elaborate throne. He is flanked by two attendants and surrounded by a retinue of 250 enlightened beings. He forms a group with the Four Transcendent Lords, and together they are known as the 1,000 enlightened ones. Along the bottom register the donors of the painting preside at the left, while Bon priests – distinguishable by their hats – preside at right. Although the artistic tradition closely follows Buddhist visual culture, as is evident in the composition and iconography, there are distinguishing features. These include Tonpa Shenrap’s intricate crown, and details of his throne such as the dragon entwined columns, and the blue eagle (khyung) a lesser Bon deity, at the apex.

The Guge style of painting, named after the Guge kingdom in the Western Himalayas (11th -17th century), is evident in the way the subsidiary figures are arranged in both horizontal and vertical alignment. Another feature is the large scrolls framing the top of the throne.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Arts of Asia

Title

Painted Banner (Thangka) of Bon Deity Tonpa Shenrap

Date

1500–1599

Medium

Opaque watercolor with gold on cotton

Dimensions

117.2 × 92.1 × 6.1 cm (46 1/8 × 34 5/8 × 2 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Marilynn B. Alsdorf

Reference Number

2014.1024

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https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/144929/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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