Edict on Silk of the Fifth Dalai Lama or his Regent


Rubin Museum of Art

Rubin Museum of Art
New York, United States

STYLE: Edicts are important documents for the history of Tibet, and those on silk issued by the court of the Dalai Lamas are also works of art in their own right. Beside using more ornamental scripts, they also contain seals and figurative representations. Here three figures, executed in rather bold lines and only partially colored, are represented at both ends and two seal imprints are set on painted lotus cushions. Probably because it is a document in two scripts, the Tibetan writing is less cursive than in other cases and there is only one flourish, a large bow above the top line.

CONTENT: The top of this painting has three figures, the middle one likely the Fifth Dalai Lama holding a lotus and a wheel. The dagger often represented in his belt is missing here. The flanking figures still need to be identified. At the bottom, Pehar, the main oracle deity of the Dalai Lamas, is flanked by two other protectors. The edict is written in two scripts above each other, Tibetan and Mongolian. Both seal prints used are associated with the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617–1682), and in this case were actually used by the regent who concealed his death.

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  • Title: Edict on Silk of the Fifth Dalai Lama or his Regent
  • Date: 1683
  • Date Created: 1683
  • Physical Dimensions: H 63.125 x W 31.5 x D 0.125 in.
  • Type: Textile
  • Rights: Rubin Museum of Art, C2010.15
  • Medium: Pigments on silk
  • Place of Creation: Lhasa, U Province, Tibet
  • Exhibition History: Rubin Museum of Art, "Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection" (02/06/13 - 01/13/14)