Three Mahasiddhas: Nagpokyopa, Phagtshangpa and Zangpopa


Anonymous - Three Mahasiddhas: Nagpokyopa, Phagtshangpa and Zangpopa
Scenes from the lives of wonderworkers (the so-called “mahasiddhas”), who brought Buddhism to Tibet, are a principal theme in Buddhist painting. They are usually portrayed in a series of eighty-four figures, of which the NG owns four thangkas. Nagpokyopa, who is said to have lived during the 8th century, is portrayed in the upper section of the thangka, flying while holding a ritual drum and a skull bowl. Phagtshangpa was an Indian monk and a pupil of one the founders of Buddhism. He is shown meditating with his gaze fixed on the Buddha Shakyamuni, seated on a cloud. His attributes are the two sows at the bottom of the painting. Zangpopa is known to the tradition as Nagpokyopa’s pupil. Here, he is depicted standing in a yoga pose on one leg besides a tree, with an elephant appearing behind it.
measurements: height 75 cm
width 50 cm
material: cotton
technique: colors – gold
inventory number: Vm 2926
gallery collection: Collection of Asian and African Art