Handprints of Karmapa 08 Mikyö Dorje (1507-1554)
  See it in the Museum
Orientation 2
Wall object 22

ABP 019

 Code: ABP 019

  Country: Tibet (east)


  Date: 1525

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 28.5 x 39

  Materials: Gouache on cotton

Handprints of Karmapa 08 Mikyö Dorje (1507-1554)

This unusual painting brings together two portraits of masters overlooking two stylized and gilded handprints. According to some, the tradition of reproducing eminent masters’ handprints or footprints dates back to Gampopa.
At the top right, the yogi-monk sitting in a cave is identified by an inscription as Sangye Nyenpa Tashi Paljor (1457–1525), a renowned ascetic and main teacher of the eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje. A poem on the back of the painting mentions “entering the intermediate state of the bardo,” indicating that the work was made after the master’s death, therefore around 1525.
In the upper left corner, a monk wears a red hat of a form that can only be associated with three great Karma Kagyü masters: Shamar, Situ, and Gyaltsap. Unfortunately, there is no inscription to identify him with certainty.
Two small Buddhas and a portrait of Gampopa are located in the upper part, and Jambhala occupies the center of the canvas in-between the handprints.
The composition and inscriptions on the back strongly suggest that these are the young eighth Karmapa’s handprints.