The direct transmission of teachings from teacher to student is of paramount importance in Tibetan Buddhism. Because of the vital roles teachers play, portraits of these revered individuals take center stage in Tibetan Buddhist art. Distinct hairstyles, hats, costumes, physical features and postures provide some clues to the identities of particular disciples, ascetics, exorcists, scholars, poets and monks in sculpture and painting. Is the subject’s head shaven or full of matted locks? Is the hat red, black or yellow, and what shape is it? As basic as these questions may seem, they unlock more than 2500 years of history and provide guides to understand some of the complexities of Tibetan Buddhist art and practice.
Chapel of the Masters