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Silk-Bordered Portraits of the Eighteen Arhats: Portrait of Ganagabasa

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Period: 1769, Qianlong reign (1736–1795), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Medium: Cloth
Dimensions: 98 × 60 cm

The main subject of this thangka (i.e., Buddhist painting on fabric) is Dharmatrāta, a figure included among the Eighteen Arhats in Tibetan Buddhism. Ganagabasa was a new Chinese name coined by the third Changkya Khutugtu Rölpé Dorjé, a prominent lama, in 1757 (the twenty-second year of the Qianlong reign, 1736–1795). The use of this new name was limited to the Qing palace as it never became as widely adopted as the previous name.

Dharmatrāta is here dressed as an itinerant monk. Holding a staff and horsetail whisk with a pack on his back and a canopy over his head, he is escorted by a ferocious tiger. Under his feet is a golden inscription. The upper left corner features images of White Tara and Amitābha Buddha in a pagoda. The background has a landscape with trees. The work is finely rendered and mounted with materials and techniques characteristic of the imperial court.

Website version edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying

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