This thangka depicts a lama wearing a yellow "pandit hat" in the center, with Sakyamuni, Four-armed Avalokitesvara, Padmasambhava, etc., above and a Dharma-protecting deity below. The yellow hat indicates that the lama belongs to the dGe-lugs-pa school, while the reference to "The omniscient incarnation bSod-nams-rgya-mtsho" in the inscription on his seat tells us that he is the renowned Third Dalai Lama, bSod-nams-rgya-mtsho.
Among the successive Dalai-Lamas, the Third Dalai lama is considered to have been an especially outstanding figure, along with the Fifth, Seventh, and Thirteenth Dalai Lamas. His main accomplishment was laying the foundations of spread of the dGe-lugs-pa school among the Mongols, and the establishment by the Fifth Dalai Lama of a form of government headed by Dalai Lama would have been impossible without the achievements of the Third Dalai Lama. The inclusion of handprints and footprints is a distinctive feature of Tibetan portraiture and is found only with the Tufan kings, regarded as manifestations of Buddhas and bodhisattvas, and high-ranking incarnate lamas.