Dharmapala Thangka CentreTibetan Antiques

Lama Tsa Tsa

Shantarakshita ?

This Tsa Tsa clearly shows a lama sitting on a single layered lotus throne. Since there are no inscriptions [left] on it, its determination is not easy. However, there are several indications that it is Lama Shantarakshita [Tib.: zhi ba tsho ཞི་བ་འཚོ ]:

  1. It is the Lama's mudra called the "Bhumisparsha" or "earth touching gesture". This is the same hand posture that the historical Buddha Sakyamuni took when he invoked the earth to testify that he had resisted the temptation of the evil Mara.

  2. This mudra, except for the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, is found only in very high lamas, among whom Shantarakshita undoubtedly belonged.

  3. The monk's cap is relatively small, the two ends do not touch the shoulders. Only lamas of the Sakya and Nyingma schools wear this short cap. Lama Shantarakshita belonged to the Nyingma school.
Shantarakshita was one of the most important philosophers of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism. He was invited to Tibet during the time of King Thrisong Detsen and, together with Padmasambhava, founded Tibet's first Buddhist monastery, Samye, of which he became abbot.

Originally, the Tsa Tsa had a single-line Tibetan inscription on both sides of the lama at shoulder level, of which, unfortunately, only a single letter [Zha] on the right side is recognizable today. This single letter is of course not sufficient to determine the lama.

Time has left its traces. Especially in the lower part [left hand and lotus throne] the surface is no longer completely intact. Regardless of this, the lama depiction still has a very dignified appearance.

Age: probably 19th cent.

Measurements: 1.7 x 1.5 x 0.7" | 4.4 x 3.7 x 1.8 cm
Price: 98 $ | 95 €
Shipment: Parcel Service from Germany
Material: Burned Clay
High resolution: Display [0.4 MB, 1474 x 1803 px.]
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