This painting illustrates the life story of Tsongkapa with the main subject is shown in the left part of the painting, not the center. Numerous inscribed scenes are scattered within a unifying landscape but separated by clouds, trees, mountains, or valleys. The painting was part of a set of paintings that narrated his life’s achievements. The largest event shown on the left is the dream Tsongkapa had while in retreat. He saw great Indian scholars, one of them, Buddhapalita (470-540 CE), blessed him with an Indian volume, thus confirming that Tsongkapa’s philosophical understanding was correct.


  • Title: Tsongkapa
  • Date Created: 18th century
  • Physical Dimensions: 26.75 x 18.25 in.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Rubin Museum of Art, C2009.2
  • Medium: Ground mineral pigment on cotton
  • Place of Creation: Tibet
  • Exhibition History: Rubin Museum of Art, "Once Upon Many Times: Legends and Myths in Himalayan Art" (09/16/11 - 01/30/12)

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