Sakya Pandita, from a Panchen Lama Lineage Series, 18th century
Unknown (Central Tibet, Tashilunpo Monastery - 18th century)
opaque watercolour on cotton
70 x 41.5 cm
Gift of Max Tanenbaum, Toronto, 1980
National Gallery of Canada (no. 26864)
Kunga Gyaltsan (1182-1251), also a spiritual ancestor of the Panchen Lama, is perhaps the most important master of the Sakyapa school. Following a visit to China, he became viceroy of Tibet in 1249. The painting depicts him converting the Shivaite ascetic Harinanda. This image and that of Bhavaviveka are part of a famous series of portraits engraved between 1705 and 1734 at the monastery of Narthang. Painted by monks throughout Tibet, the portraits depict the successive incarnations of the Panchen Lama, ruler of the monastery of Tashilunpo and abbot of the Gelugpa order.